(20.) HORATIO SEYMOUR (1810-1861)
“The Know-Nothing Candidate”
Democrat Seymour/Francis Blair
Defeated by Republican General Ulysses S. Grant/Schuyler Colfax, 1868
In 1850, when the New York Convention met at Syracuse to choose candidates for state offices, a delegation walked out and held another meeting, condemning Seward’s policies. They named Horatio Seymour as their candidate for governor and called themselves the “Silver Gray Whigs” because their leader, Francis Granger, had silver gray hair.
Later this faction seized control of the American (Know-Nothing) Party and in the Reconstruction Period of 1868; Seymour was named their candidate for president. General Grant took 26 of the 34 states, the vote being light because of government reprisals.
For three generations the Seymours had served in the New York legislature. Horatio had been mayor of Utica, Governor of New York, and took great interest in internal improvements. He said, “Politics is a recurrent dream—there is no cure.”
He criticized the “Draft Act” as unconstitutional. In the 1868 campaign he was called a Copperhead. He stood on a platform for negotiated peace and was defeated by less than one percent of the total votes cast.