The 1868 US presidential election was the first to take place after the American Civil War, abolition of slavery, and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The Republican Party's Ulysses S. Grant competed with the Democratic Party's Horatio Seymour, even though incumbent President Andrew Johnson was eligible to run on the Democratic ticket. President Johnson had ascended to the presidency following Lincoln's assassination, however his inability to unite Republicans and Democrats during the post-civil war reconstruction led to impeachment charges being brought before Johnson, and he was almost removed from office, surviving by just one vote (36 of 54 "guilty" votes were needed to remove Johnson from office, however only 35 guilty votes were cast).
The 1868 election was fought on an "anti-black, pro-white" platform by the Democratic Party, while the Republican Party campaigned on Grant's popularity as the Union military leader in the civil war. Grant won almost 53 percent of the popular vote, however this gave him almost three quarters of the electoral vote. Grant carried a total of 26 states, compared to Seymour's 8, and many of Grants victories were in states he had fought against in the civil war (although in 1868 Mississippi, Texas and Virginia had not yet been readmitted into the Union, and could not take part in the Presidential election). Grant's victories in the south have been attributed to lower levels of engagement among politically disenfranchised, white voters, as well as huge popularity among newly-freed, black voters. More than 700,000 black voters registered in 1867, and black voters were the majority in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 21st US presidential election in 1868
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ProCon. (June 30, 2011). Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 21st US presidential election in 1868 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from /statistics/1056497/distribution-votes-1868-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. "Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 21st US presidential election in 1868." Chart. June 30, 2011. Statista. Accessed April 21, 2021. /statistics/1056497/distribution-votes-1868-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. (2011). Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 21st US presidential election in 1868. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: April 21, 2021. /statistics/1056497/distribution-votes-1868-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. "Share of Electoral College* and Popular Votes** in The 21st Us Presidential Election in 1868." Statista, Statista Inc., 30 Jun 2011, /statistics/1056497/distribution-votes-1868-us-presidential-election/
ProCon, Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 21st US presidential election in 1868 Statista, /statistics/1056497/distribution-votes-1868-us-presidential-election/ (last visited April 21, 2021)