2 November 2006
[LINCOLN, Abraham]. The Soldiers Vote. To the Friends of 'Lincoln and Johnson' in Pennsylvania. It is of the utmost importance to get a full vote of our gallant soldiers for our country tickets at the November election...By Order of the Committee, Simon Cameron, Chairman Union State Central Committee. [Philadelphia?], n.d. [before November 1864]. Folio broadside (18 5/8 x 8 in.), neatly tipped to a protective sheet. Fine condition.
TROLLING FOR SOLDIERS' VOTES IN THE 1864 ELECTION. Simon Cameron (1799-1889), one of Lincoln's purely political appointees, had a troubled tenure as Secretary of War, and, with accusations of profiteering in the air, resigned in January 1862. Named Minister to Russia, he was instrumental in preventing that nation's recognition of the Confederacy. Returning to Pennsylvania in 1864, as the election approached, he offered his services to Lincoln in his campaign for re-election. Pennsylvania ranked second only to New York in the number of troops it had enlisted for the Union Army, and this large group, Republicans realized, could play a significant part in the November elections, if their absentee ballots were distributed and recorded. The Pennsylvanian legislature enacted measures to facilitate voting by soldiers, including those on detached orders (in hospital, on leave, etc.) and the broadside quotes at length the relevant provisions of the statute, concluding with an exhortation to Pennsylvania's Republicans: "Having secured the soldier the right to vote, let us see to it that he has every possible opportunity of exercising the right...."
In the critical election of November 1864, Lincoln and his party garnered a very high proportion of the Union soldiers' votes and won Pennsylvania's 26 electoral votes. Rare.
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