Alternatives to McClellan? Democratic Options in 1864

We are now upon the 150th anniversary of the Democratic presidential convention of 1864. That convention nominated George McClellan and George Pendleton of Ohio as the Democratic ticket on a platform framed largely by Copperheads such as the recently-returned Clement Vallandigham.

Could the Democrats have done better? Tell me how. I wonder how the platform could have been different. Could Democrats have reached out to recover more members of their party by passing a more moderate platform on the conduct of the war without alienating the peace wing of the party (which, after all, had nowhere else to go unless it wanted to see a divided Democracy hand the fall contest to Lincoln). Was there a better choice than McClellan? You tell me.

Lincoln’s Blind Memorandum of August 23, 1864

AL 082364 front

On August 23, 1864, Abraham Lincoln met with his cabinet. He circulated amongst his ministers a folded piece of paper, and asked them to sign it without looking at its contents. They did (as the LOC website is down until tomorrow, the image will appear here then).

Inside, one would have found the following words:

Executive Mansion
Washington, Aug. 23, 1864.
This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards.

Coming just days after Lincoln had set aside suggestions that he abandon emancipation in the Confederacy as a war aim, this memorandum suggests that the president did not think his chances for reelection were very good.

Here one can read what Matthew Pinsker says about the document, or you can watch him here.

Allen Guelzo offers his take here:

MIA: Susan Hathaway and Tripp Lewis

flagging the vmfa 3-7We hear a lot about the gallant Virginia Flaggers and how they are stretching thin their numbers to have at least a token presence (read Grayson Jennings or Barry Isenhour) everywhere in order to claim that “they” were there (really, “he” was there).

Yet we still have not seen Susan Hathaway at Washington and Lee University (her continued absence from the “front lines” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is now a matter of public knowledge). Nor have we seen the always entertaining Norwood “Tripp” Lewis at either Washington and Lee University or the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Now, we know that the Virginia Flaggers are keeping quiet when it comes to other missing persons, by one wonders why these two are also missing in action at the Flaggers’ primary venues? Oh, I know, Susan’s fans will claim she has a busy speaking schedule, as if that serves as sufficient excuse, but can they say the same for Tripp?

Maybe Tripp’s busy preparing all those suits against police and security personnel at the VMFA. Haven’t heard about that for a while.

UPDATE: I had a report that Tripp Lewis finally showed up again at the VMFA within hours of this appearing! Coincidence? 🙂 Now let’s await his arrival at Lexington.

Controversy at the University of Mississippi: More Threats

You’ll recall that the Mid-South Flaggers made much of their march on Oxford, Mississippi, a few weeks ago … and then they made much of the fact that they didn’t like the company they kept. Fair enough.

But this exchange on their Facebook page should remind us that the Mid-South Flaggers are no angels, either.

Old Miss Violence

Apparently the Mid-South Flaggers want to voice their own opinion but shut down those who disagree (which is fairly typical for the Confederate heritage movement, by the way). And as for threats of violence? Read the last comment.

We can now expect the usual calls to university officials demanding that a faculty member be silenced.