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  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, ON Progressive)
  Did The Fall of Atlanta Really Save Lincoln in 1864?
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Author Topic: Did The Fall of Atlanta Really Save Lincoln in 1864?  (Read 890 times)
Badger
badger
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« on: July 12, 2014, 11:57:58 am »

I'm rewatching The Civil War by Ken Burns, and they certainly play up the 1864 election (like most Civil War biopics seem to) as some great, even improbable, come from behind victory by Lincoln. A somehow 'close shave' Linoln survived only due to the timely capture of Atlanta only several weeks before.

That may satisfy the casual tv viewer, but we election afficianados know the truth: McClellan was utterly routed. The electoral tsunami exaggerates the scope of Lincoln's win, but the popular vote was still a substantial margin of just over 10 points.

The win of Atlanta certainly aided Lincoln, and surely flipped a few close states like NY, CT, & probably PA, but was it truly responsible, even largely so, for Lincoln's win? It seems like Lincoln still had more than enough support that he still would've won a comfortable (Obama 2012-ish) victory.

Thoughts?
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CatoMinor
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2014, 12:25:12 pm »

It certainly didn't hurt, but what really saved Lincoln was the Radical Republicans not running their own candidate like they threatened to do.
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Badger
badger
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2014, 10:31:09 am »

It certainly didn't hurt, but what really saved Lincoln was the Radical Republicans not running their own candidate like they threatened to do.

Good point. How much support could Fremont have realistially syphoned from Lincoln?

For that matter, Fremont withdrew and endorsed Lincoln only 3 weeks after Atlanta fell; how much cause and effect was there?
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Barnes
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2014, 08:02:31 pm »

It can be argued, I suppose, that there was some rally around the flag effect, but I'm sure the direct consequences of that had dissipated by November. The unity in the Republican ranks is the much more likely cause - a continued Fremont candidacy would have really hurt Lincoln in New England and Illinois.
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Georgia Swing
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2014, 11:14:48 am »

If you look at the 1864 election returns on Wikipedia:

McClellan ran close in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New Hampshire and would have picked up 70 electoral votes if the national vote were 8 points closer (51-49), making it 142 to 91 in favor of Lincoln.  Otherwise, it's hard to see how McClellan could have won the other states.

Lincoln ran significant margins in New England and the Midwest--effectively giving the Republicans an electoral vote lock. It's similar to 1860 (and becoming that way today) where even with less than 40 percent of the popular vote, it was almost impossible for Lincoln to lose the election because his vote was so heavily concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest.
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