The election of 1868 took place during Reconstruction, the turbulent years after the Civil War. Andrew Johnson – the 17th president following the assassination of Lincoln, who was subsequently impeached – failed to be nominated as Democratic candidate. After many failed ballots, politician Horatio Seymour ran for president, offering a soft approach to Reconstruction. The Republicans chose war hero Ulysses S. Grant, and stood by their policy of ‘Radical Reconstruction’. Things did not run smoothly for Seymour, who was labelled a traitor and accused of being disloyal to the Union. After a period of civil war, an impeached president and uncertainty around Reconstruction, Grant represented peace and stability. While the numbers were close, Grant carried the Electoral College vote and won. Some say the result was influenced by the fact that Texas, Mississippi and Virginia were unable to vote as they had not been restored to the Union.
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