A HOUSE DIVIDED
Abraham Lincoln v. George McClellan, President, 1864
It seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be re-
—Abraham Lincoln, August 1864
Abraham Lincoln was ripe for the picking. He was an unpopular president with severe political problems and significant opposition from all sides. At least, that is the way the year 1864 began. If the election had been in June or July instead of November, he would likely have lost, and the Union might have taken a different direction.
The first part of the year was spent by many Republicans trying to throw Lincoln aside and nominate someone else. Horace Greeley wrote, "Mr. Lincoln is already beaten. He cannot be elected. And we must have another ticket to save us from utter overthrow. If we had such a ticket as could be made by naming Grant, Butler, or Sherman for President, and Farragut as Vice, we could make a fight yet. And such a ticket we ought to have anyhow, with or without a convention."1
Lincoln faced a number of obstacles. It had been over three decades since an American president had been reelected, and many observers believed that one four-year presidential term had become the norm and a tradition. For most of his tenure in office, Lincoln was an unpopular president. There was widespread criticism of his policies and his leadership. There had been huge protests against Lincoln's military draft, which in some places erupted into riots. An antidraft protest in New York City in