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Let’s Vote

I think we are on the verge of a very important election that seems to hold our current democracy in its hands. Normally, a set of mid-term elections are just the formal way we change seats in our legislative houses, but this year, the very definition of our democracy is at stake. Will we deny and lie about how our democracy works in order to rule it from the conservative right or will we restore the rule of law, the foundations of democracy, and the freedom to vote fairly? The same could be true of an election during the Civil War. President Lincoln

Lincoln’s Election in 1864

United States presidential election of 1864, American presidential election held on Nov. 8, 1864, in which Republican Pres. Abraham Lincoln defeated Democrat George B. McClellan . As the election occurred during the American Civil War , it was contested only by the states that had not seceded from the Union.

Britannica Online, November 6, 2022

Wartime discord

Discover more about Copperhead opposition to Abraham Lincoln during the U.S. presidential election of 1864
Discover more about Copperhead opposition to Abraham Lincoln during the U.S. presidential election of 1864 (Britannica Online, November 6, 2022)

As the 1864 election approached, the prospect that Pres. Abraham Lincoln would gain a second term was very much in doubt. The war between the North and the South had persisted longer than many had anticipated, and the Union army’s efforts in early 1864 provided little hope for an expeditious conclusion. Many Northern Democrats who supported the war as a means of preserving the Union had been dismayed by the Emancipation Proclamation (1863), the promulgation of which suggested to them that slaves’ rights had also become a principal objective of the conflict. At the same time, a faction within Lincoln’s own party—the antislavery Radical Republicans—contended that the actual emancipation of slaves was not being accomplished quickly enough and that the president’s proposals for readmitting Confederate states to the Union were too lenient. Both sides, furthermore, were critical of Lincoln’s wartime restraints on civil liberties.

Britannica Online, November 6, 2022

Abortion, Inflation

So it may seem obvious that abortion and inflation are the two biggest issues in today’s election, but the parallels with 1864 are more subtle, and more deeply about the continuation of democracy.

Historian Jon Meacham on how the 16th president faced an election during the Civil War, when the continuation of democracy was still an open question – and how it resonates with the first post-insurrection midterm election.

CBS News, November 6, 2022

Education and Elections

The reason education cares about elections is that schools reflect their neighborhood and our neighborhoods are divided. Our country has not been this divided since the 1960s, or even the 1860s. We need a fair and safe election and truthful statements about how our democracy works. This is what we teach our children, so education needs this election to be fair and free.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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