Aspirations to “whoop” the North notwithstanding, Confederates set their hopes for independence not on the belief that they could defeat the North but on the hope that their armies could stave off defeat long enough for the North to weary of war.
The South’s single biggest opportunity to effect political change in the North was the presidential contest of 1864. If Lincoln’s support foundered and the North elected a president with a more flexible vision of peace on the continent, the South might realize its dream of independence.
In Bullets, Ballots, and Rhetoric, Larry Nelson vividly brings to life the complex state of Northern politics during the election year of 1863. He recounts fluctuations in the value of the dollar, draft resistance and riots, protests against emancipation, political defeats suffered by the Republicans in the elections of 1862, and growing discontent in the border states and Midwest.
Nelson offers an insider’s look at the administration of Jefferson Davis, as it looked for cracks in Northern unity and electoral opportunities to exploit. Bullets, Ballots, and Rhetoric is an engrossing account of a little-known facet of Civil War statecraft and politics.