March 9, 1864: The military campaign will decide the political campaign

Lincoln with a newspaper

Today the Richmond Daily Dispatch runs a prescient editorial, though not quite the way they would like. The editor gets in a swipe or two at the Yankees, whose greed may cause them to be swayed by Lincoln’s budget, or whose cowardice will let them by cowed by his army, but the real point is that Lincoln can’t win reelection unless the Union win some military victories. The US Presidential election will indeed be decided by military results this fall.

The U. S. Presidential election.

The people of the United States, not being sufficiently drunk with military excitement, are preparing to work themselves up into a grand furore over the election of a President. The present incumbent is desirous of re-election, if indeed it can be called a re-election, seeing he has never yet enjoyed the coveted felicity of being President of what was once the United States, but which ceased to be the United States when he assumed the reins of power. We are not at all surprised that Mr. Seward insists on Mr. Lincoln holding his place till all the States over which he was chosen to preside, acknowledge his benignant sway. If he holds on till that period he will have a longer reign than all the monarchs of all time together.–It is natural that he should desire some compensation for being kept out of his own, the whole term for which he was originally elected. What a sorry time he has had of it! The votes of the Black Republicans could make him President of the United States, but not of the South. In all that time he has no more been our President than the Emperor of Austria. He has raised an army of more than a million of men and we know not how many hundred millions of money, but the guns of his Black Republicans have been as powerless as their votes. Still he is not President of what he calls the United States. He is now about to make another effort, combining ballots and bullets, and by the 4th of November next we shall see what we shall see.

It appears that in this great and final effort to be President of all the States, the unhappy Lincoln is destined to meet with opposition in the North as well as the South. The people of the “rebellious provinces” are so well pleased with their freedom from his vulgar and villainous despotism that they will fight him to the end of time rather than permit him to rule over them. In the North, some even of his own party are solicitous to have his place. The wooly Fremont, who enjoyed the honor of being thoroughly flagellated by Stonewall Jackson in the Valley; the warlike Banks, who enjoyed the same distinction, with the additional eclat of serving as Commissary to the same Confederate leader; the Greenback Chase, whose financial achievements have eclipsed, if that were possible, the glory of Yankee arms, are all eager to relieve their venerable chief of the cares of State. His old enemies, the Union loving Democracy, will not be wanting in this critical juncture to their duty to themselves and the spoils.

But Abraham Lincoln is not the man to be scared from his hold of power by false friends or hungry foes. The whole world knows, and no one better than himself, that he was elected to his present position, not on account of superior qualifications for the Presidency, but on account of superior qualifications for being the tool of a party. No man approaches him in that respect, and no man is wanted there but one who will be a tool, and nothing but a tool, of the Black Republican mob. Brains are not wanted, heart is not wanted, not even brute courage is wanted; nothing but a voice that can echo and a hand that can register the black passions and beastly purposes of the Black Republican populace. Lincoln knows all this, and delights in the knowledge.–Only let him be President, and Mrs. Lincoln Mrs. President, and the little Lincolns little Presidents in futuro, and he will be proud and happy to be the tool of any party under the sun.

What the result of the United States election will be it is impossible to predict. If its people were like any other people the vulgar ignoramus who has stolen away their liberties would never be permitted to retain them. But he has the enormous patronage of the Federal Government at his back, and the nation whom he rules are not insensible to the captivations of gold; he has a formidable standing army at his back, and the heroic population of the North is not insensible to the emotion of fear.

Nevertheless, they are a fickle as well as ferocious race, and it may occur to them that the re-election of Lincoln won’t pay. Once convinced of that interesting fact, and Lincoln goes back to his rail-splitting with a universal kick from the universal Yankeedom. It rests with the soldiers of the Confederacy to furnish them the only argument which they are capable of comprehending. The military campaign will decide the political campaign. It remains for the armies of the South to say whether Lincoln shall or shall not be the next President of the United States.

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