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1864 Democratic National Convention
1864 Presidential Election
GeorgeMcClellan.png GeorgeHPendleton.png
Date(s) August 29-August 31, 1864
City Chicago, Illinois
Venue The Amphitheater
Presidential Nominee George B. McClellan of
New Jersey
Vice Presidential Nominee George H. Pendleton of
1860  ·  1868

The 1864 Democratic National Convention was held at The Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois.[1] The Convention nominated General George B. McClellan for the Presidency, and Representative George H. Pendleton for the Vice-Presidency. McClellan, age 37 at the time of the convention and Pendleton, age 39, are the youngest presidential ticket ever nominated as of 2008.

Thomas H. Seymour of Connecticut was unsuccessful in his attempt to receive the nomination.



Candidates Gallery

The Convention

McClellan/Pendleton campaign poster

The Democratic Party was bitterly split between the War Democrats and the Peace Democrats. Also making matters complicated were the factions that existed among the Peace Democrats. Moderate Peace Democrats who supported the war against the Confederacy, such as Horatio Seymour, were preaching the wisdom of a negotiated peace. After Gettysburg, when it was clear the South could no longer win the war, moderate Peace Democrats proposed a negotiated peace that would secure Union victory. They believed this was the best course of action because an armistice could finish the war without finishing the South.[2] Radical Peace Democrats known as Copperheads, such as Thomas H. Seymour, declared the war to be a failure and favored an immediate end to hostilities without securing Union victory.[3]

General George B. McClellan and former Connecticut Governor Thomas H. Seymour vied for the presidential nomination. In addition, friends of Horatio Seymour insisted on placing his name before the Convention. But on the day before the organization of that body, Horatio Seymour announced positively that he would not be a candidate.

Since the Democrats were divided by issues of war and peace, they sought a strong candidate who could unify the party. The compromise was to nominate pro-war General George B. McClellan for president and anti-war Representative George H. Pendleton for vice president. McClellan, a War Democrat, was nominated over Thomas H. Seymour, a Copperhead. The convention then adopted a peace platform[4] — a platform McClellan personally rejected.[5] McClellan supported the continuation of the war and restoration of the Union, but the party platform, written by Copperhead Clement Vallandigham, was opposed to this position.

The Balloting

Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st Before Shifts 1st After Shifts
George B. McClellan 174 202.5
Thomas H. Seymour 38 23.5
Horatio Seymour 12 0
Abstaining 1.5 0
Charles O'Conor 0.5 0
Vice Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st Before Shifts 1st After Shifts
George H. Pendleton 55.5 226
James Guthrie 65.5 0
Lazarus W. Powell 32.5 0
George W. Cass 26 0
John D. Caton 16 0
Daniel W. Voorhees 13 0
Augustus C. Dodge 9 0
John S. Phelps 8 0
Abstaining 0.5 0


  1. ^ "The 1864 Democratic National Convention". Chicago Historical Society. 1999. Retrieved 2007-05-03.  
  2. ^ They Also Ran
  3. ^ The American Pageant
  4. ^ "1864 Democratic Platform". Archived from the original on 2009-06-14. Retrieved 2009-06-10.  
  5. ^ "George B. McClellan". Ohio History Central. Archived from the original on 2009-06-14. Retrieved 2007-03-06.  


Preceded by
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by


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