Union Party

Updated: November 25, 2010

The American Civil War and the tensions leading to it divided the North and the South. These events also caused members of the various political parties within the United States of America to divide over support for the war, sometimes resulting in the formation of new political groups.

The American Civil War and the tensions leading to it divided the North and the South. These events also caused members of the various political parties within the United States of America to divide over support for the war, sometimes resulting in the formation of new political groups.

During the Civil War in Ohio, some members of the two dominant political parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, united together as the Union Party in support of the war against the South.

Union Party members principally consisted of Republicans and pro-war Democrats. As the nation erupted in war, previous political squabbles between Democrats and Republicans became less important to many Northern Americans. A desire to reunite the nation prompted some members of both of these parties to join together.

Most Ohioans opposed secession and endorsed war to reunite the country, although a number of people, primarily members of the Democratic Party, opposed the conflict. Despite the opposition of these Ohioans, who became known as Copperheads, the pro-war Democrats and Republicans who established the Union Party dominated Ohio's wartime government. All four of Ohio's governors, including David Tod, John Brough, Charles Anderson, and Jacob D. Cox, during and immediately following the Civil War ran as candidates of or were members of the Union Party. Tod and Brough had been members of the Democratic Party prior to the Civil War and probably won election in 1861 and 1863 respectively because of a desire by Republican Party members to encourage Democrats to join the Union Party. Upon the war's conclusion in 1865, Cox, a pre-war Republican, won election as Ohio's governors, symbolizing the return of traditional differences between Democrats and Republicans, who were now no longer united together by the violent conflict that had engulfed the nation the previous five years.

With the Civil War's end, the Union Party quickly dissolved. By the end of Governor Cox's term in 1868, the Union Party no longer existed. New issues, including the extension of rights to African Americans and whether or not the federal government should punish Southerners for secession during Reconstruction, caused the pro-war Democrats and Republicans to divide, once again, into Democrats and Republicans. These two political parties could not find common ground, like they did during the Civil War, to remain united.

 

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"Union Party," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 19 Aug 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=133>

APA Style

"Union Party." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved August 19, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=133

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Ohio Civil War Central: An Encyclopedia of the American Civil War