by Larry E. Nelson
University of Alabama Press, 1980
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8970-3 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-0037-1 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5092-5
Library of Congress Classification E458.4.N42
Dewey Decimal Classification 324.97307

A fascinating study of Confederate perceptions of and attempts to manipulate the 1864 US presidential election

The Confederacy's hopes for independence were founded less on the belief that the South could defeat the North than on a strategy of staving off defeat long enough for the North to weary of the fight. The South’s single biggest opportunity to effect political change in the North was the presidential contest of 1864. If Lincoln’s support foundered and the North elected a president with a more flexible vision of peace on the continent, the South might realize its dream of independence.

Praised as an important contribution to understanding the Davis administration, in Bullets, Ballots, and Rhetoric, Larry Nelson vividly brings to life the complex state of Northern and Southern internal politics during the election year of 1863. He recounts fluctuations in the value of the dollar, draft resistance and riots, protests against emancipation, political defeats suffered by the Republicans in the elections of 1862, and growing discontent in the border states and Midwest. This gripping account explores a mission Davis sent to Canada in 1864 seeking to influence the election of a new US president, a strategy Nelson's persuasive analysis shows to have been intelligent and reasonable. Nevertheless, Davis's haphazard leadership contributed to its failure. Nelson hypothesizes that had Davis drawn the North into negotiations before the Democratic convention for the upcoming elections, a temporary armistice might well have proved permanent. 
Nelson offers an insider’s look at the administration of Jefferson Davis as it searched for cracks in Northern unity and electoral opportunities to exploit—and yet also as it overlooked war-weariness in the South itself. Bullets, Ballots, and Rhetoric is an engrossing account of a little-known but critical aspect of Civil War statecraft and politics.

See other books on: 1861-1865 | 1864 | Bullets | Confederate States of America | Election
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