VII | VII Observations

Your Civic Duty, An Incredible Right

A woman casts her ballot in the Afghan presidential election in Herat, Afghanistan, on Oct. 9, 2004. For the first time in 20 years, Afghan women were allowed to vote in the 2004 presidential election.
© Alexandra Boulat / VII

On this day in 1864, Northern voters elected President Abraham Lincoln to a second term. Any hope that existed for a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy disappeared with his re-election.

Lincoln faced many challenges to his presidency in 1864. The war, now in its fourth year, left many questioning if the South could be conquered militarily.

The fact that the election was even held at all is important to note. Before this 1864 election, no country had held elections during a time of military emergency. Lincoln had said, “We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.” Five months after Lincoln’s re-election, the collapse of the Confederacy was complete.

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