York’s Jeremiah Black, former U.S. attorney general, among Democrats resorting to racism

Jeremiah S. Black, former U.S. attorney general and secretary of state, stood before members of the Keystone Club in Philadelphia in 1864.

The respected York resident was on the Democratic stump in the heated election of 1864. Their candidate, George McClellan, was flailing in his bid against Abraham Lincoln’s reelection. Much was at stake; indeed, the outcome of the Civil War. According to Jennifer L. Weber’s enlightening new book, “Copperheads,” the Dems were generally calling for the country to be reunited.

A Lincoln victory would keep the country prosecuting the war.

“As political pamphlets flooded the North, those from the Democrats resorted again to virulently racist argument,” Weber wrote.
That was Black’s tact in Philadelphia:…


In addressing the war powers part of the U.S. Constitution, Black argued that the Republicans were leveraging the document “to rob the white man of his property and bestow it on the negro… . You can degrade the white man to the level of the negro — that is easily done — but you cannot lift the negro up to the white man’s place.”
This came from the locally esteemed Jeremiah Sullivan Black, the builder of the mansion “Brockie” and the highest-ranking federal official to live his adult years in York County. (For others from York County who have reached high ranks in politics, click here.)
And his party, the Copperheads or Peace Democrats, represented the majority report in York County.
Oh yes, Lincoln won Pennsylvania and the country.
Same as in 1860.
He lost in York County.
Same as in 1860.
G.A. Mellander and Carl E. Hatch provided this compilation showing Lincoln’s loss in York County 1864 presidential voting.

 

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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