One issue that loomed large in the mind of Northern politicians in 1864 was the presidential election that would be held later that year. It would be the test of whether people wanted to continue to follow the policies pursued by President Abraham Lincoln the previous four years. But there were some in the Republican party that did not even want Lincoln to get a chance at reelection. 150 years ago today a document called the Pomeroy Circular was published. It was written by Samuel Pomeroy, a Republican senator from Kansas. In this document titled, “The Next Presidential Election,” Pomeroy proposed a new Republican candidate to replace Lincoln – Salmon P. Chase. Chase was the Secretary of the Treasury. Chase was aware of the plans of men like Pomeroy and would have welcomed the opportunity to become President, but he also did not want to publicly come out against Lincoln unless he was sure the people would back him. This document was sent to many Republicans, to help build support for Chase.
Unsurprisingly, it was not long before it fell into Lincoln's hands and was published in the newspapers. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, predicted that “it will be more dangerous in its recoil than its projectile,” meaning that it would do more damage to Chase than to Lincoln, at whom it was aimed. Chase wrote to Lincoln that he was not involved in writing the document, and submitted his resignation, which Lincoln refused. In the long run, Welles proved to be right. The people did not rally behind the idea of Chase for president, and even the Republicans of his own state, Ohio, responded by endorsing Lincoln for president in 1864.