Fred J. Martin Jr.
Oakwood author Fred Martin’s book, Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Reelection in 1864: Our Greatest Victory, allows the reader to grasp the importance of that election – as this year we celebrate its 150th anniversary. Martin will speak about the book on August 14 at 10:00 a.m. in the Bradford Room at the Oakwood Clubhouse.
Martin, a visiting scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, retired in 1993 as Senior Vice President and Director of Government Relations for Bank of America. Martin then began 20 years of research on Lincoln in the Library of Congress, the National Archives and researched in city and state historical societies, archives and libraries nationwide.
Lincoln had no speechwriters and no press secretary. Self taught with only rudimentary formal education, Lincoln’s words and his logic sprang from moral and ethical convictions. His words and the words of his opponents and allies are the superstructure of Martin’s book.
Learn anew how Lincoln forged a pathway to victory as he faced down the slave power aristocracy that had ruled the nation for 60 years. He first drew the line to prevent the spread of slavery, and he emancipated the slaves. Just as he had educated himself, he led the populace step by step with his writing and his speeches through the challenges facing the nation.
The rebellious south crafted Civil War military moves and covert actions designed to prevent his election and reelection. He outmaneuvered opponents both south and north, proving the supremacy of the will of the people exercised through the ballot.
Lincoln wielded the patronage and built a political base out of the ruins of past parties, uniting and building grass roots support – with loyalty among the people and among the soldiers in the Union Army. Within his own party he faced strong opponents among radicals and conservatives. With military victories, those who had opposed him rallied to the cause and joined the campaign.
His reelection saved the Union and made possible the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that put an end to slavery in the nation.
When in August of 1864, as gloom hung over the north as the wounded streamed north from the battlefields of Virginia, Lincoln was warned that his reelection was endangered. Yet he held firm to emancipation and a refusal to negotiate over one nation and called up 500,000 more men. His blind memorandum best tells the story of his courage and conviction and is on the cover of Martin’s book.
Martin is a third generation Montanan, where his father was a weekly newspaper publisher and editor. His early experience included reporting for The Denver Post, The Associated Press and the San Francisco Examiner and editor of San Francisco Business while employed by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. He served as an infantry lieutenant in Korea. His wife, Shirlee, taught for 34 years in the San Francisco Unified School District and continues as a substitute when in San Francisco.