Former Governor Horatio Seymour of New York, the Democratic nominee for the White House, openly campaigned against Grant in 1868 under the slogan “This is a White Man’s Country. Let White Men Rule.”
The 1868 race was the first time in American history that Black men could vote for president, in some southern states under Reconstruction governments. Freedmen enthusiastically embraced their new role as voters. Not surprisingly, Black voters flocked to the party of Lincoln and Grant, the Republicans.
But conservative whites both South and North reacted strongly to the idea of Black men participating in politics, which was frightening to them. And they opposed Grant because he supported passage of the Fifteenth Amendment for Black suffrage nationwide. So they flocked to the Democrats.
In the South, ex-Confederates banded together in domestic terrorist groups to inflict and threaten violence to keep Black men away from the polls or intimidate them into voting Democratic. For example, such voter suppression cost Grant the state of Louisiana where thousands of votes by Black men were lost to fear and fraud.
In the North, Democrats openly appealed to white supremacy in their campaign for Seymour and his running mate, vice presidential nominee Francis P. Blair. The photos and illustrations below tell the story of that campaign. All images are public domain from Wikimedia Commons.