James E. Bond


This article reviews the state ratification debates in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. Then as now these states were major electoral battlegrounds. In all three states the two parties fielded strong candidates and ran well-organized campaigns. Many of the nationally recognized proponents of the 14th amendment hailed from these states. Those among them who faced re-election were marked men. President Johnson himself made his famous "swing around the circle," defending "My Policy" in major cities in all three states. The President was only the most prominent of the many well-known outsiders who criss-crossed these states in a desperate attempt to influence the decision. Throughout the summer and fall of 1866 this debate riveted the public's attention on the single issue of ratification.