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Conclusion: The Election Results of 1864

Finally, after a long year of quelling peace riots, promoting self-images of being a man of peace, or a man of war, and  all of the buff, pale, and deep yellow chrome ballots were cast and counted, Vance emerged from the dusty political battle with a land-slide victory as he garnered 80% of the total number of votes. While this number could fool people into believing Vance was a great representative of the North Carolina constituency, it is important to remember, in order to get these votes, Vance crusaded a relentless mud-slinging campaign against Holden that was meant to tear down his character; meanwhile, he used voter intimidation at the polling booth to scare people away from voting for Holden, and last but certainly not least, Dr. Joe A. Mobley accused Vance’s voting block of committing fraudulent ballots as a means to assure Vance's victory.[1] However, it was also not a surprising victory considering the events on the battlefield that led up to voting day gave people hope in Vance's vision of a just and honorable peace brought about by defeating the Union. With all of this information, it is necessary to view the meaning of the election of Governor Zebulon B. Vance in a new perspective. While North Carolina's white men may have agreed with Vance’s peace platform by August of 1864, it was clear that in the previous year the Confederate government was in hot water as people rallied in protest.  With this in mind, it is important to understand that throughout Vance’s election campaign he was not working in a way to best represent the voting class of North Carolina, instead Vance’s actions acted as a prime representative of the will of the Confederate nationalist political group, who was more concerned in creating a sense of Confederate patriotism in order to win the war than representing their people.

Throughout the war, Vance had his eyes on only one thing, achieving a just and honorable peace for his people. This objective he clearly stuck to from 1862 in his correspondences with Edward Stanly, through his messages with President Davis in 1863 to find a way to quell the peace protests that were rising in his state, and finally until the end of the election in 1864 when Jubal Early won a series of victories in Virginia and brought hope to Vance’s peace message. While Yearns may have had trouble pinning down the vague peace platforms of other Confederate candidates, it is clear that Governor Vance of North Carolina had a distinct conception of what he meant in his platform for a just and honorable peace, one which he never swayed from.

[1] Mobley, “My Life Popularity and Everything Shall Go into This Contest,” 125.