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1864 Republican National Convention

1864 Republican National Convention
1864 Presidential Election
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Fremont and Cochrane
Date(s) National Union
June 7-June 8, 1864
City Baltimore, Maryland
Front Street Theatre
Independent Republican
May 31, 1864 in Cleveland, Ohio
Presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln of Illinois
(National Union)
John C. Frémont of California
(Independent Republican)
Vice Presidential nominee Andrew Johnson of Tennessee
(National Union)
John Cochrane of New York
(Independent Republican)
1860  ·  1868

The 1864 National Union Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the still new Republican Party met for its third national convention to nominate candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency. Because of the needs and circumstances of wartime politics, the party was reorganized temporarily and known as the National Union Party of the United States which included both Republicans along with Northern and a few Southern "War Democrats" of the opposing Democratic Party, who supported incumbent President Abraham Lincoln's continuation of the war and the slavery emancipation and future Southern Reconstruction policies during the last term. The national convention of the National Unionists, took place from June 7 to June 8, 1864 in Baltimore, Maryland at the Front Street Theatre, on Front Street north of East Fayette Street on the east bank of the Jones Falls stream which ran through downtown towards "The Basin" (today's Inner Harbor).

Frémont and Cochrane campaign poster

There were two rival Republican conventions in 1864. The first was by a group of radicals upset with President Lincoln's positions so far on the issues of slavery and any future post-war reconciliation with the rebelling Southern states. They met to the northwest in Cleveland in Ohio and nominated the former presidential candidate from the 1856 election, the "Great Pathfinder" and explorer of the West who was also involved in the American campaigns in California during the Mexican-American War in 1846-1847, retired Major General and former Senator John C. Frémont, (1813-1890), for President on May 31, 1864. They also adopted the name for their party as the "Radical Democracy Party". Fremont had two years earlier been reprimanded by the President for his criticism and premature emancipation of slaves (then also known as "contraband") while he was commanding the military department in Missouri and St. Louis at the beginning of the War.[1] This 1864 fission in the Republican Party temporarily divided the new party into two factions: the anti-Lincoln "Radical Republicans", who nominated Frémont, and the pro-Lincoln Republicans/"National Unionists". Frémont abandoned his political campaign in September 1864, two months before the polls opened, after he brokered a political deal in which Lincoln removed the U.S. Postmaster General in his cabinet Montgomery Blair from his office who was also the son of noted Jacksonian supporter and political campaign strategist Frank Blair.

The "1864 National Union Convention" was held in the Front Street Theatre on Front and East Fayette Streets, near the east bank of the Jones Falls (which its rear doors with loading platforms opened onto the stream) in downtown Baltimore, Maryland, just two blocks northeast from another frequent convention site at the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts above the old Centre ("Marsh") Market. The National Unionists met quickly and were held for a short term of two days from June 7 to June 8, 1864. It renominated as expected, President Abraham Lincoln for reelection, and nominated a "War Democrat", the Military Governor Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, for Vice President. Johnson had also been the firebrand former United States Senator from Tennessee who refused to leave his post in December 1860 to February 1861, when all the other southern senators were resigning and leaving their offices in the The Capitol in Washington, D.C. to go join the Confederacy. The ticket was successful in the election of 1864.

See also


  1. ^ "1864: Lincoln v. McClellan". HarpWeek: Explore History. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 

Further reading