• Benjamin Copley Offers Thoughts On Controversial 1856 Presidential Election

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    The 1856 United States presidential Election was the 18th, held on Tuesday, November 4, 1856. In a three-way election, Democrat James Buchanan defeated Republican nominee John C. Fremont and American Party nominee Millard Fillmore. This was the only time in U.S. history when a political party denied nomination to the incumbent President Franklin Pierce, who was widely unpopular due to the ongoing Civil War in Kansas Territory. Buchanan, a former Secretary of State, had avoided the divisive debates over the Kansas-Nebraska Act by virtue of his service as the Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Slavery was the main issue. 


    The writer of our 2 pp, 7 ½ x 9 ½, Sept. 2, 1856, Benjamin Copley writes to his brother A.J. Copley from Union, speaking of the problems with Indians and his opinion of Fremont, Buchanan and Daniel Webster.


    “...We have had such reports of the ravages of the Indians in your quarter... [I was] thinking that you are engaged in political matters too much to write until the fight was over...Ike wrote to me last week and lectured me very hard not voting for Fremont. I thought perhaps you might have seen the mountaineer. If you have I think your impression must have been more favorable than mine or you would not vote for him. I have seen him a number of times and have had some personal acceptance with him and the impression was not positive enough for me to vote for him.  James Buchanan, I have seen, heard him speak often and think I have heard but one man in my life that could beat him.  Daniel Webster was the smartest that I ever heard...


    “Indians has been as bad reported with us.  The outrage of the Indians has been thought by some to be beyond endurance...”


    Staining, folds, toning, with a couple of tears reinforced with archival tape.  Creative spelling corrected in the transcription for clarity.  A fine example of what the country was dealing with during a very controversial political election.


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