Manuscript/Mixed Material Image 1 of Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 3. General Correspondence. 1837-1897: Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday, August 23, 1864 (Memorandum on Probable Failure of Reelection; endorsed by members of cabinet)

About this Item


Abraham Lincoln, Memorandum on Probable Failure of Re-Election1, August 23, 1864

1 A summer of costly military stalemate and widespread disaffection among War Democrats and conservative Republicans with the administration's policies toward slavery persuaded Lincoln that he would probably be defeated in the 1864 presidential election. Perhaps to bear witness to his determination to save the Union even if defeated, he wrote out this memorandum, indicating his fear that General McClellan, if elected, would be forced by members of his party to seek an armistice with the Confederacy. Such an armistice could be tantamount to recognition of Confederate independence. Lincoln's memorandum, which he asked the members of his cabinet to sign as witnesses without reading, amounts to a pledge to work in concert with McClellan before the latter's inauguration.

Another copy of this document in John Hay's hand is in this collection.

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.

A. Lincoln

[Endorsed on Reverse:]

William H Seward

W. P. Fessenden

Edwin M Stanton

Gideon Welles

Edwd. Bates

M Blair

J. P. Usher

August 23. 1864.2

2 The date is in Lincoln's hand.

Transcribed and annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

About this Item

Title
Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 3. General Correspondence. 1837-1897: Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday, August 23, 1864 (Memorandum on Probable Failure of Reelection; endorsed by members of cabinet)
Contributor Names
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Created / Published
August 23, 1864
Subject Headings
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
-  United States--Politics and government--1861-1865
-  Presidents--United States
-  Manuscripts
Genre
Manuscripts
Notes
-  Memorandum on Probable Failure of Reelection; endorsed by members of cabinet
Call Number/Physical Location
series: Series 3. General Correspondence. 1837-1897
Source Collection
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
Repository
Manuscript Division
Digital Id
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/ms000001.mss30189a.4359700
Online Format
online text
image
pdf
IIIF Presentation Manifest
Manifest (JSON/LD)

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress’s digital scans of the papers of Abraham Lincoln are in the public domain.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Abraham Lincoln Papers.

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 3. General Correspondence. 1837 to 1897: Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday,Memorandum on Probable Failure of Reelection; endorsed by members of cabinet. 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mal4359700/.

APA citation style:

Lincoln, A. (1864) Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 3. General Correspondence. 1837 to 1897: Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday,Memorandum on Probable Failure of Reelection; endorsed by members of cabinet. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mal4359700/.

MLA citation style:

Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 3. General Correspondence. 1837 to 1897: Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday,Memorandum on Probable Failure of Reelection; endorsed by members of cabinet. 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mal4359700/>.

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