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"The Day of Battle Has Arrived"

  • "The Day of Battle Has Arrived": Election Day 1860
On the morning of the presidential election of 1860, the editors of the Daily Richmond Enquirer insisted that Virginia's voters give Democratic presidential candidate John C. Breckinridge a large majority to prevent Republican Abraham Lincoln from being elected president.
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"The Day of Battle Has Arrived": Election Day 1860

Editorial in the Daily Richmond Enquirer, November 6, 1860

In November 1860, one of the editors of the Daily Richmond Enquirer, which had been one of the most influential Democratic papers in the South for more than fifty years, was Obadiah Jennings Wise, eldest son of former governor Henry Alexander Wise. Both men insisted that Southern men should present a united front against all of the dangers that they feared if antislavery Republicans gained control of the federal government. The term "Black Republicans" was a commonplace phrase that condemned the party as too favorable toward the interests of slaves and hostile toward the interests of slaveowners.

Editorial in the Daily Richmond Enquirer, November 6, 1860
The Day of Battle has Arrived.
Before another issue of the Richmond "Enquirer" can reach any of our readers, the most important and exciting election in which American citizens have ever participated will have taken place. Never were our principles more imperilled than in the present warfare waged upon our constitutional rights by Black Republican enemies, headed by their standard-bearer, Abe Lincoln. Nothing can defeat the aggressor but a concentration of the entire Southern vote on those well-tried and faithful patriots—BRECKINRIDGE and LANE. The destiny of this great American Union is now in the hands of the people. The importance of the contest now upon us cannot be over estimated. It involves all that patriots and friends of the Union hold dear, and upon the result hangs the hopes of the nation for all time to come.
The time for argument and discussion has passed. It only remains now for us, friends of the Constitution and the Union, to act—to act as freemen worthy of the noble heritage of liberty—to act as it becomes men to act who properly estimate the glorious privileges they enjoy, and who wish to transmit them to a free and happy posterity.
Democrats of Virginia! friends of Breckinridge and Lane! at this time shall there by any recreancy in our ranks? Will not every man, who desires the success of our gallant candidates, who desires the defeat of Lincoln and Hamlin, be at his post? Will there be one found to desert his colors in this trying emergency? Rather, let there be a grand rally of all our forces—let each man battle with might and main for the truth and right!
To work, then, friends of our glorious cause! To work with all your power, with your whole soul, and mind, and strength for liberty, and honor, and peace, and safety! We appeal to you to stand by your flag, by your candidates, by your principles, by your country—to devote THE WHOLE OF THIS DAY to the great cause you have espoused—to give your undivided, unselfish devotion to the Constitution, the Union, and the Equality of the States!