“The purpose of the people within the loyal States to maintain the integrity of the Union was never more firm nor more nearly unanimous than now.... No candidate for any office whatever, high or low, has ventured to seek votes on the avowal that he was for giving up the Union. There have been much impugning of motives and much heated controversy as to the proper means and best mode of advancing the Union cause; but on the distinct issue of Union or no Union the politicians have shown their instinctive knowledge that there is no diversity among the people. In affording the people the fair opportunity of showing one to another and to the world this firmness and unanimity of purpose, the election has been of vast value to the national cause.”
On the day of election General McClellan resigned his commission in the army, and the place thus made vacant was filled by the appointment of General Philip H. Sheridan, a fit type and illustration of the turn in the tide of affairs, which was to sweep from that time rapidly onward to the great decisive national triumph.
The Thirteenth Amendment—The President’s Speech on its Adoption—The Two Constitutional Amendments of Lincoln’s Term—Lincoln on Peace and Slavery in his Annual Message of December 6, 1864—Blair’s Mexican Project—The Hampton Roads Conference
A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery throughout the United States had passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, but had failed of the necessary two-thirds vote in the House. The two most vital thoughts which animated the Baltimore convention when it met in June had been the renomination of Mr. Lincoln and the success of this constitutional amendment. The first was recognized as a popular decision needing only the formality of an announcement by the convention; and the full emphasis of speech and resolution had therefore been centered on the latter as the dominant and aggressive reform upon which the party would stake its political fortunes in the presidential campaign. Mr. Lincoln had himself suggested to Mr. Morgan the wisdom of sounding that key-note in his opening speech before the convention; and the great victory gained at the polls in November not only demonstrated his sagacity, but enabled him to take up the question with confidence among his recommendations to Congress in the annual message of December 6, 1864. Relating the fate of the measure at the preceding session, he said:
“Without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session. Of course the abstract question is not changed, but an intervening election shows, almost certainly, that the next Congress will pass the measure if this does not. Hence there is only a question of time as to when the proposed amendment