On Tuesday, October 14, 1862, elections were held throughout the North. Democrats won 35 congressional seats previously held by Republicans and won the governor’s post in both New York and New Jersey, while taking statewide races in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Vastly outnumbered in New England, Democrats still achieved nearly 45 percent of the vote in all state races and nearly 50 percent in the congressional contests. Even where Republicans won their vote, totals declined in comparison to their 1860 vote.
Many blamed Lincoln’s September Emancipation Proclamation for Republican losses. Horace Greeley complained that it had taken Lincoln too far ahead of the Northern electorate, and Northern newspaper editors complained that the fate of the black man was why Republican voters stayed home, boycotting the election.