Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
U.S. presidential election, 1868
The U.S. presidential election of 1868 was the first presidential election to take place during Reconstruction. Three of the former Confederate states were not yet readmitted to the Union and therefore could not vote in the election. The incumbent President, Andrew Johnson, was despised by Democrats for running as Abraham Lincoln's Vice President and by Republicans for obstructing their plans for Reconstruction, and so he was not a candidate. Instead the Democrats nominated Horatio Seymour to take on the Republican candidate, Civil War hero General Ulysses S. Grant. With freed blacks voting in much of the South (with the help of Union soldiers), and with massive popularity in the North as the man who won the Civil War, Grant won in a landslide.
The Civil War over, partisan politics immediately returned as U.S. Congress wrangled with the issue of reconstruction - the radical Republicans even going so far as to impeach President Andrew Johnson.
Republican Party nomination
General Ulysses S. Grant, who had garnered 22 delegate votes at the 1864 convention without demonstrating any interest in being a candidate, was unanimously nominated as the party's standard bearer for 1868. Schuyler Colfax was chosen over Ohio's Benjamin Franklin Wade for Vice President.
Democratic Party nomination
Two-time New York Governor Horatio Seymour emerged as the Presidential nominee for the Democrats, garnering 317 delegate votes to defeat 1864 Vice Presidential nominee George H. Pendleton (157 delegates), future Vice President Thomas Andrews Hendricks (146) and eventual 1880 Democratic presidential nominee Winfield Scott Hancock. Francis Preston Blair, Jr. was nominated for Vice President.
|- | Horatio Seymour | Democratic | New York | style="text-align:right;" | 2,703,249 | style="text-align:right;" | 47.3 | style="text-align:right;" | 80 | Francis Preston Blair, Jr. | Missouri | style="text-align:right;" | 80 (a) Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia did not participate in the election of 1868 due to Reconstruction. In Florida, the state legislature cast its electoral vote.
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