Presidential Elections in the United States

Presidential elections plays an important role in the United States because it’s an important process of electing the next president for the United States. The presidential election of 1868 was the 21st election held on November 3rd, 1868. This was the first ever election after the reconstruction era. The nominees running for president were Republican General Ulysses S. Grant and Democrat Horatio Seymour.
Ulysses S. Grant was born and raised in Ohio. He was a United States general commander of the union army in 1864 to 1865 during the Civil War. Grant helped recruit troops in Galena and was soon appointed as brigadier general through a U.S. congressman from Galena named Elihu B. Washborne.

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In 1862, Grant won the first union victory war and was promoted as a major general. Soon after he was promoted, there was an unexpected confederate attack at the Shiloh church near Tennessee. The public caused an uproar and that damaged Grant’s reputation causing him to lose his place as general to a man named Halleck. However, Grant regained his reputation and was back in command a couple months later. After years of being general, Grant was appointed lieutenant and was given the responsibility to run all of U.S. armies. Although he was disappointed of the south’s loss in Civil War, he made many accomplishments. By 1865, Grant was liked by many people in the north. Johnson requested that Grant should tour the South and to Grant’s surprise, the south was friendly towards him. Grant then submitted a Reconstruction policy that was very lenient towards the south. President Johnson violated the Tenure office act by removing secretary of war, Edward W. Stanton, and replaced him with Grant. When Congress tried to bring back Stanton, Grant resigned which infuriated Johnson. President Johnson and Grant became rivals which resulted in strengthening Grant’s ties to the Republican Party and to his nomination of the election of 1868. I believe that Grant was qualified to be president because he was born in the United States, he was a citizen for 14 years and he was older than 35 years old when he was nominated.

The opponent of this election was democrat Horatio Seymour. Born and raised in New York in 1810. Seymour was a politician and joined the New York State bar in 1832. One year later, he served as a military secretary and ended in 1839. He joined the New York Assembly in 1842 which is the lower house of the New York State legislature. Since he enjoyed working in these type of fields, Seymour was elected mayor of Utica in 1842 and took pride in his work. He was then nominated for governor in 1850, he failed to win election but succeeded two years later (Britannica). Unfortunately, he lost his bid for the second term and people may think it’s because of him opposing the bill to prohibit the sales of alcohol. Seymour was a strong advocate for preserving the union and to stay out of war at all costs. He strongly opposed President Lincoln’s ideas on emancipation, conscription, and military arrests. He believed that his policies was toward New York City causing him to appeal to Lincoln. Shortly after in 1865, draft riots occurred in New York City. Draft riots were held in lower-manhattan with people who were in the working-class fighting for the new laws that were passed stating that men must go to fight in the Civil War. Seymour tried to fix this ongoing issue, but failed to do so which weakened him as a politician. Finally, in 1868, he was nominated to be president. It was hard for people to choose a democratic nominee with 47 men wanting to be nominated. After several voted, they finally picked democrat Horatio Seymour. At first, Seymour didn’t accept their offer simply because he didn’t want to become president. After some urging from other party leaders, they finally convinced him to run for president and he agreed. He was qualified to run for office because he was born and raised in the United states, he was over 35 years old, and has been a 14 year resident in the United states.

The presidential election of 1868 was definitely an interesting one. The campaign tactic they used was called mud-slinging. This means that they used harsh ways to try and ruin each others reputations. Both Grant and Seymour didn’t campaign enough. In fact, Grant stated that he never wanted to be apart of the election campaign. Grant never really spoke to the public, he would just do a quick wave. Most of the election campaign was run by the party supporters. The republicans waved something called the Bloody Shirt which was to get more votes on their side and also to remind the democrats the lack of support of the war effort. The bloody shirt symbolizes the blood of the northern men who died in war. They also attacked seymour for being a traitor to the union for being lenient towards the south. The Republicans urged Union men to “vote as you shot” for Ulysses Grant — the man who won the Civil War. They warned that Horatio Seymour and the Democrats were all secret rebels in their hearts (Larry West, American History Series: The Election of 1868). As for most of the democrats, the most they were doing was charging back at the republicans. They accused Grant as a liar and that he was controlled by extremists. They also said that if he was elected president, he would rule like a Dictator. Seymour, in fact, didn’t do any act of violence towards the republicans and Grant. He did what he had to do by giving the same partisan speeches throughout his tour. The election ended with Grant winning the popular vote with 270 electoral college votes and Seymour only 80.

The media plays a huge role in presidential elections. Newspapers used to be a big factor in elections because someone’s opinion could completely change if they read something in the newspaper. The media controls what people may see in newspapers therefore changing their opinion on the candidates. Newspapers would be sent out that would attack seymour’s character and as well as the accusations of Grant being a liar or a drunkard. People who may have read those newspapers can get a whole new outlook on the candidate. They would believe what they read since they assume these stories are true. The nature of the media can either help candidates or completely destroy them based on what the news reporter believes is true. I believe that the media affected the outcome of this election solely because Seymour’s reputation was destroyed by the republicans. They used many tactics to attack Seymour and it eventually worked.

If I would have voted in this election, I would have voted for Grant. I would’ve voted for Grant because he supported black suffrage. I believe that every person no matter the skin color should be able to vote and blacks should’ve been a citizen of the United States. He wanted to completely abolish slavery and help black people/ex-slaves get jobs and be in school which I completely would support if I was going to vote in 1868. Although he had no political experience, I liked his idea/policies better compared to Seymours.

Works Cited

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ulysses-S-Grant#ref2817

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horatio-Seymour

https://presidentialcampaignselectionsreference.wordpress.com/overviews/19th-century/1868-overview/

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/a-23-2010-02-10-voa2-84659437/115774.html

https://www.presidentsusa.net/qualifications.html

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Presidential elections in the United States. (2019, Nov 07). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from
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