The 1864 Election

In light of all the recent flap about the posible postponement of the election, the fact that the 1864 election still occured on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of 1864 is getting bandied about.

I was wondering how, though. Did the Southern states still hold elections? If not, how did the Electoral College achieve quorum in order to re-elect Lincoln?

The confederate states didn’t vote, obviously. Lincoln was elected with 212 electoral votes, so even counting the nonvoting electoral votes of the Confederacy, Lincoln won a majority in the electoral college. (McClellan won 21 electoral votes, and the Confederacy had 80 electoral votes). So, Lincoln won 212 out of 313 electoral votes.

A bit of a hijack, but something that might be interesting to play around with.
What would have happened if the election between Lincoln and McClellen had been much closer, and the south HAD voted (persumably for McClellen) and sent state’s delegates of to vote for him. Thus giving McClellen the presidency.

I believe that after the war voting rights were curtailed for most white southerners. But had this been formally done before war’s end? In 1864 were southerners legally eligable to vote in US elections?

Certainly it was the north’s contention that the south couldn’t leave the union. But does the fact that they were trying to remove them from constitutional protection.

The language of the 12th Amendment is instructive in that hypothetical situation:

(I obviously snipped the part referencing elections thrown into the House, and the “chusing” of the Vice President.)

In 1864, for reasons that should be obvious, the eleven Southern states did not choose (or “chuse”) electors nor have them meet to cast their ballots, and in consequence did not transmit certification of such votes to the seat of government (i.e., Washington DC). They therefore did not appoint electors, and the states which had not seceded were therefore the only states who appointed electors – 212 of the 233 for Lincoln and 21 for McClellan.

The Confederate States would not have named electors, since in their minds they were no longer part of the U.S. but a separate nation, bound in honor not to interfere with the workings of the nation they had been but no longer were part of. (The 19th century sense of honor worked differently than how we would construe it today – but that would be their sense. The idea that they could sway an election in the Union by exercising their right to choose electors to vote for the peace candidate would be seen by them as a dishonorable course – maybe they needed Karl Rove?)

Honor or no honor, they wouldn’t have done it because it would have weakened their legal position and delegitimized them.

By late 1864 it was obvious to most everyone that unless McClellen won the south was beat.

So why didn’t they try it? What’s the worst that could have happened? A few people waste a little time and effort.

There is no language in Clause 2 that prevents the south from chusing electors.
Since the north contended that the south was still part of the union a case could be made that they would have had to accepted the electors.

Clause 3 eliminates the need for them to trek off to DC where they would have been no doubt arrested. Mailing them in would have worked as the mail system between the north and south lasted well into the war.

Can a case be made that those eligible voters in active rebellion don’t have the right to vote. I’d think so, but that’s not necessarly a problem. No doubt there were many in the south who weren’t in active rebellion and may have been against succedding (sp?) in the first place. It isn’t hard to see them voting for McClellen.

Not really an issue. No one I’m aware of had recognized them as a nation anyway. There only hope was to win the war, which they weren’t going to do with Lincoln in office.

As Polycarp indicates, the 12th Amendment is clear in requiring only a majority of electors appointed to win in the Electoral College. At one point in 1864, however, dissident Republicans were considering running John Fremont as a third party candidate against Lincoln and McClellan, raising the possibility that no candidate would win even a majority of electors appointed. The election would then have gone to the House, and in the event of a House election, the 12th Amendment stipulates that “a quorum (to ballot for president) shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.” With 11 of 36 states unrepresented, and with the North unwilling to concede that states which seceded were no longer states, either provision could have proven problematic. Any two of the remaining delegations could have blocked a quorum.

Even Rove might have blanched at what Andrew Johnson did in Tennessee. As Military Governor, and as Lincoln’s running mate, he ordered that the portions of Tennessee under federal control conduct a presidential election in November 1864, and then required would-be voters to swear an oath of “unconditional support for all federal war policies” in order to register. Needless to say, McClellan supporters weren’t wild about this oath. They withdrew their electoral ticket and boycotted the election. Johnson certified the Republican electoral votes and sent them to Washington anyway.

The Reconstruction Legislature in Louisiana took a more direct approach and appointed a slate of Republican electors themselves, not bothering to call a popular election (as is their constitutional power). In the end, Congress declined to count either the Louisiana or Tennessee votes. Of course, if the election had been close, and they had needed these bogus votes in order to win, it might have been a different story.

Sandy Hook’s point would have been valid before 1804, but in 1864, the 12th Amendment was adopted and superseded (most parts of) the two clauses on which his argument rests. (He can thank Aaron Burr for screwing him over on that one! :))

Thank you.

Hey, that’s Raleigh’s only native-son President you’re badmouthing there! :stuck_out_tongue:

Damn that Aaron Burr, I never did like him.
What about

I’m not even a little bit sure to what and how far Habeas Corpus can be applied. Is it a streatch for congress to have envoked it and just thumbed their noses at the southern votes?

The North held that the Southern states were still part of the Union, but that their governments had forfeited their right to federal recognition by engaging in armed rebellion. Under no circumstances would Congress have felt obligated to seat a Senator elected by a rebel legislature or count an electoral vote certified by a rebel governor.

When the war was won, the rebel governments didn’t just pick up where they had left off; they had to be “reconstructed” from the ground up, and Congress and the Johnson administration argued loud and long over how to do so.

The Great Writ is a relic of the Common Law that has widespread application – it requires a person who has another person in his custody, whether legally or illegally, to bring that person before the court issuing the writ so that his just cause may be tried. It’s the legal ground on which the Guantanamo prisoners are largely depending to seek a trial, for example, and any prisoner seeking a review of court proceedings that found him guilty but were arguably not conducted kosher may, subject to some special rules, use it to bring the arguments about why his trial wasn’t fair before an appellate court. (It’s different than an appeal – it’s legally a whole new judicial action.)

I cannot see how Habeas Corpus could be applied to the circumstances surrounding the election of 1864 – but our present honorable Chief Justice wrote an entire book, largely about the writ of habeas corpus, with his starting premise the circumstances surrounding Abraham Lincoln extralegally suspending the writ as applied to the Baltimore area in 1863, so it’s intriguing you’d bring it up.