1868 Democratic National Convention
1868 presidential election
HoratioSeymour circa1860.png
Francis P. Blair, Jr.png
Nominees
Seymour and Blair
Convention
Date(s)July 4–9, 1868
CityNew York, New York
VenueTammany Hall
Candidates
Presidential nomineeHoratio Seymour of New York
Vice presidential nomineeFrancis P. Blair, Jr. of Missouri
Results (president)Seymour (NY): 317 (100%)
Results (vice president)Blair (MO): 317 (100%)
Ballots22
‹ 1864  ·  1872 ›

The 1868 Democratic National Convention was held at Tammany Hall in New York City between July 4, and July 9, 1868. The first Democratic convention after the conclusion of the American Civil War, the convention was notable for the return of Democratic Party politicians from the southern states.

Venue

Illustration showing Tammany Hall decorated for the convention
Illustration showing Tammany Hall decorated for the convention

The convention was held at the new Tammany Hall building on East 14th Street in Manhattan, New York City, which replaced the organization's earlier headquarters.[1] For the convention, the hall was elaborately decorated.[2]

Convention officers

Horatio Seymour, the former governor of New York, served as the permanent chairman of the convention. Each state delegation had a vice president and secretary to the convention.[3]

Henry L. Palmer of Wisconsin served as the convention's temporary chairman, after the convention voted on the opening day to appoint him after he was nominated by Democratic National Committee Chairman August Belmont.[2]

Events of the convention

On July 4, 1868, coinciding with the first day of the Democratic National Convention, the Soldiers and Sailors National Convention was held at the Cooper Institute, also in New York City.[4] On July 6, a committee from that convention was granted privilege to address the Democratic National Convention.[3]

On July 6, an address from the Woman's Suffrage Association was presented and read before the convention.[3]

During the convention, many delegates utilized the catch phrase, "this is a white man's country, let white men rule".[5]

Presidential nomination

Presidential candidates

The front-runner in the early balloting was George H. Pendleton, who led on the first 15 ballots, followed in varying order by incumbent president Andrew Johnson, Winfield Scott Hancock, Sanford Church, Asa Packer, Joel Parker, James E. English, James Rood Doolittle, and Thomas A. Hendricks. The unpopular Johnson, having narrowly survived impeachment, won 65 votes on the first ballot, less than one-third of the total necessary for nomination, and thus lost his bid for election as president in his own right.

Admission ticket to the convention
Admission ticket to the convention
Sketch by Theodore R. Davis for Harper's Weekly of the convention in session
Sketch by Theodore R. Davis for Harper's Weekly of the convention in session

Meanwhile, the convention chairman Horatio Seymour, former governor of New York, received 9 votes on the fourth ballot from the state of North Carolina. This unexpected move caused "loud and enthusiastic cheering," but Seymour refused, saying,

I must not be nominated by this Convention, as I could not accept the nomination if tendered. My own inclination prompted me to decline at the outset; my honor compels me to do so now. It is impossible, consistently with my position, to allow my name to be mentioned in this Convention against my protest. The clerk will proceed with the call.[6]

After numerous indecisive ballots, the names of John T. Hoffman, Francis P. Blair, and Stephen Johnson Field were placed in nomination. This raised the number of names placed into nomination to thirteen. None of these new candidates, however, gained much traction.

For twenty-one ballots, the opposing candidates battled it out: the East battling the West for control, the conservatives battling the radicals. The two leading candidates were determined that the other should not receive the nomination; because of the two-thirds rule of the convention, a compromise candidate was needed. Seymour still hoped it would be Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, but on the twenty-second ballot, the chairman of the Ohio delegation announced, "at the unanimous request and demand of the delegation I place Horatio Seymour in nomination with twenty-one votes-against his inclination, but no longer against his honor."

Seymour had to wait for the rousing cheers to die down before he could address the delegates and decline.

I have no terms in which to tell of my regret that my name has been brought before this convention. God knows that my life and all that I value most in life I would give for the good of my country, which I believe to be identified with that of the Democratic party...

"Take the nomination, then!" cried someone from the floor.

...but when I said that I could not be a candidate, I meant it! I could not receive the nomination without placing not only myself but the Democratic party in a false position. God bless you for your kindness to me, but your candidate I cannot be.[6][7]

Seymour left the platform to cool off and rest. No sooner had he left the hall than the Ohio chairman cried that his delegation would not accept Seymour's declination; Utah's chairman rose to say that Seymour was the man they had to have. While Seymour was waiting in the vestibule, the convention nominated him unanimously.

In 1868, the States of Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana were readmitted to the Union. Nebraska had been admitted to the Union on March 1, 1867. Texas, Mississippi and Virginia had not yet been readmitted to the Union.

Presidential Ballot
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
George H. Pendleton 105 104 119.5 118.5 122 122.5 137.5 156.5 144 147.5 144.5 145.5
Thomas A. Hendricks 2.5 2 9.5 11.5 19.5 30 39.5 75 80.5 82.5 88 89
Winfield Scott Hancock 33.5 40.5 45.5 43.5 46 47 42.5 28 34.5 34 32.5 30
Andrew Johnson 65 52 34.5 32 24 21 12.5 6 5.5 6 5.5 4.5
Sanford E. Church 34 33 33 33 33 33 33 0 0 0 0 0
Asa Packer 26 26 26 26 27 27 26 26 26.5 27.5 26 26
James E. English 16 12.5 7.5 7.5 7 6 6 6 6 0 0 0
Joel Parker 13 15.5 13 13 13 13 7 7 7 7 7 7
James R. Doolittle 13 12.5 12 12 15 12 12 12 12 12 12.5 12.5
Horatio Seymour 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Francis Preston Blair 0.5 10.5 4.5 2 9.5 5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Reverdy Johnson 8.5 8 11 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Salmon P. Chase 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5
Thomas Ewing 0 0.5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
John Q. Adams 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
George B. McClellan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Blank 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 0.5 0 0.5 0 0.5 0.5
Presidential Ballot
13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd Before Shifts 22nd After Shifts
Horatio Seymour 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 317
George H. Pendleton 134.5 130 129.5 107.5 70.5 56.5 0 0 0 0 0
Thomas A. Hendricks 81 84.5 82.5 70.5 80 87 107.5 121 132 145.5 0
Winfield Scott Hancock 48.5 56 79.5 113.5 137.5 144.5 135.5 142.5 135.5 103.5 0
Andrew Johnson 4.5 0 5.5 5.5 6 10 0 0 5 4 0
Asa Packer 26 26 0 0 0 0 22 0 0 0 0
James E. English 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 16 19 7 0
Joel Parker 7 7 7 7 7 3.5 0 0 0 0 0
James R. Doolittle 13 13 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 4 0
Stephen J. Field 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 9 8 0 0
Francis Preston Blair 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 13.5 13 0 0 0
Salmon P. Chase 0.5 0 0 0 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 4 0 0
Thomas H. Seymour 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2 0 0 0
John T. Hoffman 0 0 0 0 3 3 0 0 0.5 0 0
Thomas Ewing 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
George B. McClellan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 0 0
Franklin Pierce 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Blank 0.5 0.5 1 1 0.5 0 1 1.5 0.5 31 0


Vice Presidential nomination

Vice Presidential candidate

Withdrawn candidates

Declined

Seymour/Blair campaign poster
Seymour/Blair campaign poster

Exhausted, the delegates unanimously nominated General Francis Preston Blair Jr. for vice-president on the first ballot after the names of Augustus C. Dodge and Thomas Ewing Jr. were withdrawn from consideration. Blair's nomination reflected a desire to balance the ticket east and west as well as north and south.[8]

Blair had worked hard to acquire the Democratic nomination and accepted second place on the ticket, finding himself in controversy.[9] Blair had gained attention by an inflammatory letter addressed to Colonel James O. Broadhead, dated a few days before the convention met. In his letter, Blair wrote that the "real and only issue in this contest was the overthrow of Reconstruction, as the radical Republicans had forced it in the South."[10]

Vice Presidential Ballot 1st
Francis Preston Blair 317


See also

References

  1. ^ Golway, Terry (2014). Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the creation of modern American politics (First ed.). New York. pp. Introduction, 84. ISBN 9780871403759.
  2. ^ a b "The Democratic Convention". The Times-Picayune. New York Associated Press Dispatches. July 4, 1868. Retrieved 19 July 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b c "The Conventions". The New York Daily Herald. 7 Jul 1868. Retrieved 19 July 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "The Soldiers' and Sailors' Democratic Convention". The New York Times. 2 July 1868. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  5. ^ "The Worst Convention in U.S. History?". Politico. July 22, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  6. ^ a b They Also Ran, Irving Stone, pg. 280
  7. ^ Official proceedings of the National Democratic convention, held at New York, July 4-9, 1868 (Pg. 153)
  8. ^ Frank Blair: Lincoln's Conservative, William E. Parrish, pg. 254
  9. ^ Frank Blair: Lincoln's Conservative, William E. Parrish, pg. 260
  10. ^ Stewart Mitchell, Horatio Seymour of New York, Harvard University Press, 1938, p. 448

Bibliography

Primary sources

Preceded by
1864
Chicago, Illinois
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
1872
Baltimore, Maryland