Fred Martin’s book, Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Reelection in 1864: Our Greatest Victory, allows the reader to grasp the magnitude of that election primarily through the words of the actors who battled for the future of our nation during trying times.
Lincoln had no speechwriters and no press secretary. Self taught with only rudimentary education, Lincoln’s words and his logic sprang from his moral and ethical convictions. Those words and the words of his opponents and allies are the superstructure of this book. Learn anew how Lincoln forged a pathway to victory. Lincoln faced down the slave power aristocracy that had ruled the nation for 60 years. He first drew the line to prevent the spread of slavery, and he emancipated the slaves. Just as he had educated himself, he led the populace step by step with his writing and his speeches through the challenges facing the nation.
The rebellious South crafted Civil War military moves and covert actions designed to prevent his reelection. He outmaneuvered opponents both South and North. Lincoln wielded the patronage and built a political base out of the ruins of past parties, uniting and building grass roots support – with loyalty among the people and among the soldiers in the Union Army. Within his own party he faced strong opponents among Radicals and Conservatives. With military victories, those who had opposed him rallied to the cause and joined the campaign. His reelection saved the Union and made possible the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that put an end to slavery in the nation.
At a time when the United States was bogged down in partisan strife and fiscal disorder, Lincoln, with virtually no administrative experience, met the challenge of a bankrupt nation and built a government. He developed a currency, a national banking system and a strong economy that propelled the Union to victory. He incorporated his opponents into his cabinet, yet he subtly but effectively overruled them when the good of the nation required it. Efforts to purge his cabinet came with diplomacy, but firm determination and strong leadership.
Lincoln met his opponents with firmness, yet with compassion. Lincoln was a political genius whose words powered victory. His logic proved a solid foundation, as did his ethics and his moral conviction. Here in his words – and in the words of opponents and allies – lies the impetus for all to do better. Hear the words of freedom ring out a call that again can unite the nation and forge a pathway toward a better world.