1868 Republican National Convention
1868 presidential election
Grant and Colfax
Date(s)May 20–21, 1868
CityChicago, Illinois
VenueCrosby's Opera House
Presidential nomineeUlysses S. Grant of Illinois
Vice presidential nomineeSchuyler Colfax of Indiana
‹ 1864 · 1872 ›

The 1868 Republican National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in Crosby's Opera House, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, on May 20 to May 21, 1868. Ulysses S. Grant won the election and became the 18th president of the United States.

Commanding General of the U.S. Army Ulysses S. Grant was the unanimous choice of the Republican convention delegates for president. For vice president the delegates chose Speaker Schuyler Colfax, who was Grant's choice. In Grant's acceptance telegram, a letter to then President of the Republican National Convention Joseph R. Hawley, Grant said "Let us have peace",[1] which captured the imagination of the American people.


Republicans, led by their Radical faction, had scored decisive victories in the 1866 elections. If that trend continued in the 1867 elections, then the party's presidential nomination would likely go to a Radical like Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase or Senator Benjamin Wade. Chase had the support of important figures like Senator Charles Sumner and financier Jay Cooke. More moderate Republicans, such as Senator William P. Fessenden, Charles Francis Adams Jr., and The New York Times, had interpreted the 1866 elections not as a mandate for radicalism, but as a rejection of President Andrew Johnson's programs and personality; therefore, they were wary of a Radical nominee.

The Grant candidacy, though, took on momentum in the wake of the state elections in 1867. The electorate rejected the Radical Republican agenda by voting for Democratic control in the key Northern states of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and by rejecting black manhood suffrage amendments in Kansas and Ohio. The election results bolstered the case of the moderate Republicans and seemed to close the door to a Radical nominee. Georges Clemenceau, a Paris Temps journalist who would later be the French premier, reported accurately that "The real victims of the victory of the Democrats are Mr. Wade and Mr. Chase."

Presidential nomination

Presidential candidates

As Republicans convened in Chicago in May 1868, Grant had no serious opposition for the nomination; he was nominated unanimously on the first ballot.

Presidential Balloting
Candidate 1st
Grant 648
Absent 2

Presidential Balloting / 2nd Day of Convention (May 21, 1868)

Vice Presidential nomination

Vice Presidential candidates

Colfax was selected for vice president on the fifth ballot.[2] Colfax was popular among Republicans for his friendly character, party loyalty, and Radical views on Reconstruction.[2] Wilson received a large amount of support from the southern delegations.[3]

Vice Presidential Ballot
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th (Before Shifts) 5th (After Shifts)
Colfax 115 145 165 186 226 541
Wade 147 170 178 206 207 38
Fenton 126 144 139 144 139 69
Wilson 119 114 101 87 56 0
Curtin 51 45 40 0 0 0
Hamlin 28 30 25 25 20 0
Speed 22 0 0 0 0 0
Harlan 16 0 0 0 0 0
Creswell 14 0 0 0 0 0
Pomeroy 6 0 0 0 0 0
Kelley 4 0 0 0 0 0
Absent 2 2 2 2 2 2

Vice Presidential Balloting / 2nd Day of Convention (May 21, 1868)

See also


  1. ^ "Letter to Joseph R. Hawley, President National Union Republican Convention, Accepting the Presidential Nomination | The American Presidency Project". www.presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 2022-10-31.
  2. ^ a b Joseph E. Delgatto, Indiana Journal Hall of Fame, Schuyler Colfax 1966
  3. ^ Abbott 1986, p. 173.

Works cited

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Republican National Conventions Succeeded by