MOUNT VERNON — Partisan politics was never far from the news coverage of most 19th century American newspapers, and the Mount Vernon Democratic Banner was no exception.
Early in the war, President Lincoln knew he needed Democratic support for the war and so he made sure to appoint Democrats as well as Republicans to important posts, including as generals. Eventually, ability and performance would trump politics in most of the military appointments, but early in the war that wasn’t the case. Ben Butler was a classic case of someone getting appointments because he was an important Democratic politician who supported the war.
In that vein, it wasn’t long before some politicians were touting creation of a “Union” party for as long as the war took to win. The coalition did take shape and its most visible result was the nomination of Andrew Johnson, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee and a Jacksonian Democrat who refused to go along with secession, as Lincoln’s vice-presidential candidate in 1864.