We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
The Democrats were a badly divided political party in the late 1850s, having fallen prey to sectional bickering. They were unable to unify in 1860, a shortcoming that assured the election of Abraham Lincoln. During the course of the Civil War, the Democratic Party in the North comprised two factions:
- War Democrats. This faction was firmly supportive of military efforts to maintain the Union, but was loudly critical of Lincoln’s conduct of the war. This criticism grew with the lengthening list of Union military losses and with the president’s heavy-handed actions, such as the suspension of habeas corpus. The War Democrats represented the vast majority of Northern party members.
- Peace Democrats. Many Democrats within this group hoped that the Union could be salvaged, but felt that military means were not justified. This faction asserted the following:
- The North was responsible for pushing the South into secession
- The Republicans were committed to establishing racial equality, a prospect opposed by many working class immigrants who wanted to protect their low-paying jobs and by racists
- Lincoln had become a tyrant and was bent upon destroying civil liberties
- The war was a national tragedy and must be ended, even if that meant granting independence to the Confederacy.