1868 United States presidential election

Grant/Colfax campaign poster
Seymour/Blair campaign poster
Republican campaign poster, created by superimposing a portrait of Grant onto the platform of the Republican Party
Grant/Colfax humorous campaign card
Seymour/Blair campaign photograph
Former Representative George H. Pendleton of Ohio
Senator Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana
General Winfield Scott Hancock of Pennsylvania
President Andrew Johnson
Former Lieutenant Governor Sanford E. Church of New York
Former Representative Asa Packer of Pennsylvania
Governor James E. English of Connecticut
Former Governor Joel Parker of New Jersey
Senator James Rood Doolittle of Wisconsin
Associate Justice Stephen J. Field of California
Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase of Ohio
Map of presidential election results by county
Map of Republican presidential election results by county
Map of Democratic presidential election results by county
Map of "other" presidential election results by county
Cartogram of presidential election results by county
Cartogram of Republican presidential election results by county
Cartogram of Democratic presidential election results by county
Cartogram of "other" presidential election results by county

The 21st quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1868.

- 1868 United States presidential election

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Ulysses S. Grant

American military officer and politician who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877.

Portrait by Mathew Brady, 1870–1880
Grant's birthplace, Point Pleasant, Ohio
Grant c. undefined 1845–1847
Battle of Monterrey Published 1847
Chinook Indian Plank House Published 1845
Grant believed Pacific Northwest Indians were a peaceful people and not a threat to settlers.
"Hardscrabble" Published 1891
The farm home Grant built in Missouri for his family. His wife Julia called the home an "unattractive cabin".
Brigadier General Grant photographed at Cairo, Illinois, September 1861 (Published 1911)
21st Illinois regiment monument in the Viniard Field, Chickamauga
Grant's successful gamble: Porter's gunboats night ran the Confederate gauntlet at Vicksburg on the Mississippi River.
Published 1863
The Battle of Jackson, fought on May 14, 1863, was part of the Vicksburg Campaign.
Published 1863
Union troops swarm Missionary Ridge and defeat Bragg's army. Published 1886
Commanding General Grant at the Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1864
Grant (center left) next to Lincoln with General Sherman (far left) and Admiral Porter (right) – The Peacemakers by Healy, 1868
Defeated by Grant, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House
Ulysses S. Grant by Balling (1865)
Grant–Colfax Republican Ticket
Published 1868
Inauguration of President U.S. Grant, Capitol building steps.
March 4, 1869
Anthony Comstock Grant's vigorous prosecutor of abortionists and pornographers.
Amos T. Akerman, appointed Attorney General by Grant, who vigorously prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan
Image of mobs rioting entitled "The Louisiana Outrage". White Leaguers at Liberty Place attacked the integrated police force and state militia, New Orleans, September 1874.
Published October 1874
Secretary of Treasury George S. Boutwell aided Grant to defeat the Gold Ring.
Secretary of State Hamilton Fish and Grant successfully settled the Alabama Claims by treaty and arbitration.
Wharf of Santo Domingo City
Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
American Captain Frye and his crew were executed by Spanish authority.
King Kalākaua of Hawaii meets President Grant at the White House on his state visit, 1874.
Published January 2, 1875
Ely Samuel Parker
Grant appointed Parker the first Native American (Seneca) Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
Battle of the Little Big Horn
Great Sioux War
Published 1889
Cartoon by Thomas Nast on Grant's opponents in the reelection campaign
Grant is congratulated for vetoing the "inflation bill" in 1874.
Cartoonist Thomas Nast praises Grant for rejecting demands by Pennsylvania politicians to suspend civil service rules.
Harper's Weekly
cartoon on Bristow's Whiskey Ring investigation
Grant and Bismarck in 1878
Cartoonist Joseph Keppler lampooned Grant and his associates. Grant's prosecutions of the Whiskey Ring and the Klan were ignored.
Puck, 1880
Official White House portrait of President Grant by Henry Ulke, 1875
Commanding General Grant
Constant Mayer's portrait of 1866
Grant National Memorial, known as "Grant's Tomb", largest mausoleum in North America

A war hero, drawn in by his sense of duty, Grant was unanimously nominated by the Republican Party and was elected president in 1868.

Schuyler Colfax

American journalist, businessman, and politician who served as the 17th vice president of the United States from 1869 to 1873, and prior to that as the 25th Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1863 to 1869.

Ancestral home of Schuyler Colfax's grandparents William and Hester. Originally built in 1695.
John C. Frémont
Grant Colfax 1868 Campaign Poster
Vice President Schuyler Colfax
Colfax was castigated for his involvement in the Crédit Mobilier scandal in this March 6, 1873, political cartoon in which Uncle Sam is shown encouraging Colfax to commit hara-kiri.
Gravesite of Schuyler Colfax, in South Bend City Cemetery, South Bend, Indiana
Ellen M. Wade, second wife of Schuyler Colfax

Chosen as Ulysses S. Grant's running mate in the 1868 election, the pair won easily over Democratic Party nominees Horatio Seymour and Francis Preston Blair Jr. As was typical during the 19th century, Colfax had little involvement in the Grant administration.

War Democrat

War Democrats in American politics of the 1860s were members of the HiDemocratic Party who supported the Union and rejected the policies of the Copperheads (or Peace Democrats).

In the 1868 lead up to the first post-Civil War presidential election, President Johnson was a candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Horatio Seymour

American politician.

Portrait by Mathew Brady, c. 1860–1865
Horatio Seymour, circa 1860
Gubernatorial portrait of Horatio Seymour
Campaign rally celebrating Seymour's election
Seymour/Blair campaign poster
Campaign badge, 1868, from the NY Public Library, Schomberg Collection
The Horatio Seymour memorial at the Cathedral of All Saints (Albany, New York).

He was the Democratic Party nominee for president in the 1868 presidential election, won by Republican and General Ulysses S. Grant.

Salmon P. Chase

American politician and jurist who served as the sixth chief justice of the United States.

Photograph by Mathew Brady, c. 1860-1865
Coat of Arms
The Salmon P. Chase Birthplace in Cornish, New Hampshire
Chase as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Bureau of Engraving and Printing portrait of Chase as Secretary of the Treasury
The first issue of $1 notes in 1862 as legal tender, featuring Chase
Salmon P. Chase, Treasury Secretary, scribes "In God is our Trust," scratches out "is our" and overwrites "We" to arrive at "In God We Trust" in a December 9, 1863, letter to James Pollock, Director of the Philadelphia Mint.
Chase as Chief Justice
The Chase Court, 1866
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Samuel Nelson administers oath to Chief Justice Chase for the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson
Grave of Salmon Chase in Spring Grove Cemetery; a docent is dressed in period clothing.
Chase depicted on the 1934 $10,000 gold certificate

He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1868 and the Liberal Republican nomination in 1872.

Francis Preston Blair Jr.

United States Senator, a United States Congressman and a Union Major General during the Civil War.

General Blair and his staff
Francis Preston Blair Jr., National Statuary Hall Collection

In 1868, he was Horatio Seymour's vice-presidential candidate, but his dramatic speeches about the dangers of black emancipation were believed by some to have cost the Democrats the election.

Samuel J. Tilden

American politician who served as the 25th Governor of New York and was the Democratic candidate for president in the disputed 1876 United States presidential election.

Samuel Tilden as a young man
Tilden was a protege of Martin Van Buren, the 8th President of the United States.
A portrait of Samuel Jones Tilden
Campaign poster for the election of 1876
In the aftermath of the 1876 presidential election, the electoral votes of four states were disputed.
Samuel Jones Tilden
Rutherford B. Hayes defeated Tilden in the 1876 election.
Samuel Tilden
Statue in New York City

After the Civil War, Tilden was selected as the chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee and managed Democratic nominee Horatio Seymour's campaign in the 1868 United States presidential election.

Radical Republicans

The Radical Republicans (later also known as "Stalwarts" ) were a faction of American politicians within the Republican Party from the founding of the Republican Party in 1854 (before the American Civil War) until the end of Reconstruction in the Compromise of 1877.

U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens
Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury
Henry Winter Davis, one of the authors of the Wade–Davis Manifesto opposing Lincoln's "ten percent" reconstruction plan
Edwin McMasters Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War, whom Johnson tried to remove from office
U.S. Senator Charles Sumner
"Grant's Last Outrage in Louisiana" art in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper of January 23, 1875

Grant was elected as a Republican in 1868 and after the election he generally sided with the Radicals on Reconstruction policies and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1871 into law.

Republican Party (United States)

One of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its main historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States (1861–1865) and the first Republican to hold the office
Charles R. Jennison, an anti-slavery militia leader associated with the Jayhawkers from Kansas and an early Republican politician in the region
Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president of the United States (1869–1877)
James G. Blaine, 28th & 31st Secretary of State (1881; 1889–1892)
William McKinley, 25th president of the United States (1897–1901)
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States (1901–1909)
Herbert Hoover, 31st president of the United States (1929–1933)
Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States (1981–1989)
Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States (2017–2021)
Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States (1923–1929)
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th governor of California (2003–2011)
John McCain, United States senator from Arizona (1987–2018)
Donald Rumsfeld, 21st United States Secretary of Defense (2001–2006)
Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State (2001–2005)
Newt Gingrich, 50th Speaker of the House of Representatives (1995–1999)
Annual population growth in the U.S. by county - 2010s
This map shows the vote in the 2020 presidential election by county.
Political Spectrum Libertarian Left    Centrist   Right  Authoritarian
U.S. opinion on gun control issues is deeply divided along political lines, as shown in this 2021 survey.

That same year, former Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant was elected as the next Republican president.

Reconstruction era

Period in American history following the American Civil War ; it lasted from 1865 to 1877 and marked a significant chapter in the history of civil rights in the United States.

The ruins of Richmond, Virginia, the former Confederate capital, after the American Civil War; newly-freed African Americans voting for the first time in 1867; office of the Freedmen's Bureau in Memphis, Tennessee; Memphis riots of 1866
The Southern economy had been ruined by the war. Charleston, South Carolina: Broad Street, 1865
The distribution of wealth per capita in 1872, illustrating the disparity between North and South in that period
A political cartoon of Andrew Johnson and Abraham Lincoln, 1865, entitled "The Rail Splitter At Work Repairing the Union". The caption reads (Johnson): "Take it quietly Uncle Abe and I will draw it closer than ever." (Lincoln): "A few more stitches Andy and the good old Union will be mended."
Monument in honor of the Grand Army of the Republic, organized after the war
Freedmen voting in New Orleans, 1867
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (1861–1865)
Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation in Massachusetts, 1862
Northern teachers traveled into the South to provide education and training for the newly freed population.
Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States (1865–1869)
An October 24th, 1874 Harper's Magazine editorial cartoon by Thomas Nast denouncing KKK and White League murders of innocent Blacks
The debate over Reconstruction and the Freedmen's Bureau was nationwide. This 1866 Pennsylvania election poster alleged that the bureau kept the Negro in idleness at the expense of the hardworking white taxpayer. A racist caricature of an African American is depicted.
1868 Republican cartoon identifies Democratic candidates Seymour and Blair (right) with KKK violence and with Confederate soldiers (left).
"This is a white man's government", Thomas Nast's caricature of the forces arraigned against Grant and Reconstruction in the 1868 election. Atop a black Union veteran reaching for a ballot box: the New York City Irish; Confederate and Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest; and big-money Democratic Party chairman August Belmont, a burning freedmen's school in the background. Harper's Weekly, September 5, 1868.
Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States (1869–1877)
Grant's Attorney General Amos T. Akerman prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, believing that the strong arm of the federal Justice Department could pacify the South.
Eastman Johnson's 1863 painting The Lord is My Shepherd, of a man reading the Bible
Atlanta's rail yard and roundhouse in ruins shortly after the end of the Civil War
$20 banknote with portrait of Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch
Winslow Homer's 1876 painting A Visit from the Old Mistress
A Republican Form of Government and No Domestic Violence, by Thomas Nast, a political cartoon about the Wheeler Compromise in Louisiana, published in Harper's Weekly, March 6, 1875
White Leaguers attacking the New Orleans integrated police force and state militia, Battle of Liberty Place, 1874
Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States (1877–1881)
A poster for the 1939 epic film Gone with the Wind, which is set during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras

This is especially evident in the election between Grant and Seymour (Johnson did not get the Democratic nomination), where almost 700,000 Black voters voted and swayed the election 300,000 votes in Grant's favor.