By 1864, many northerners had tired of a long war that had cost thousands of lives, while other northerners were determined to fight to the end. Thus the party out of power, the Democrats, split between Peace Democrats and War Democrats; it compromised by adopting a peace platform and nominating pro-war Union general George B. McClellan. The Republican Party also split, out of fear that Lincoln could not win the war. A group of dissidents nominated John C. Frémont as one who would bring victory, while Republicans loyal to President Abraham Lincoln joined with War Democrats to form the National Union Party, under which banner the incumbent ran for reelection. The fall of Atlanta on September 2 demonstrated that Union victory was inevitable and secured the election for Lincoln.
The conflict within the Democratic Party is ridiculed in this cartoon of "Little Mack & His Party"; they have plotted a flawed political campaign that will lead to defeat ("going up Salt River"). The image reinforces the Union Party campaign slogan, "Don't change horses in the middle of a stream." The rottenness of a "Quaker gun" (the popular name then for a fake artillery piece) somehow blasts into the air McClellan and his running mate George H. Pendleton, along with the authors of the Democratic peace platform, Thomas H. Seymour and Clement Vallandigham. Entering the water with Jefferson Davis and R. E. Lee is Fernando Wood, the pro-Confederate mayor of New York City. Lincoln, holding his platform of emancipation, stands on dry and solid ground.
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