1868

THEO LIPPMAN JR.

September 21, 1992|By Theo Lippman Jr.

This is the 52nd presidential election.

The 21st was held in 1868, the aftermath of Civil War, Lincoln's assassination, impeachment of Andrew Johnson and Republican and congressional insistence on rigorous Reconstruction policies.

The Republicans easily nominated the war's hero, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and pledged continued toughness toward the Southern states. After many inconclusive ballots the Democrats nominated a reluctant Horatio Seymour, former New York governor, and called for leniency in the South. Seymour took the unusual step of making numerous campaign speeches. Grant made none nor any promises, except in accepting the nomination, when he promised without specifics to end the bitter disputes over Reconstruction.

Grant won by only 5 percentage points in the popular vote but by a wide margin -- 214-80 -- in the Electoral College, carrying five of the eight ex-Confederate states that voted.

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