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The National Union Convention (also known as the Loyalist Convention, the Southern Loyalist Convention, the National Loyalists' Loyal Union Convention, or the Arm-In-Arm Convention) was held on August 14, 15 , and 16 1866, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1]

The convention was called in advance of the mid-year elections of 1866 in an attempt to help president Johnson, who was under heavy fire from both Radical Republicans and more moderate Republicans. Johnson's fruiends tried to rally support for the lenient, pro-South Reconstruction policies of U.S. President Andrew Johnson. The goal of creating a new political party was not realized.[2]

Delegates gathered at a hastily-built temporary structure that was designed to accommodate the several thousand people expected to attend. Formally called "the Wigwam", this immense edifice was located on Girard Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets, across from Philadelphia's Girard College.[3]

About 7,000 prominent politicians and activists attended the convention. At its opening, representatives from Massachusetts (General Darius Nash Couch) and South Carolina (Governor James Lawrence Orr) paraded arm-in-arm to symbolize national reconciliation and social equity. The convention was called to order by U.S. Postmaster General Alexander Randall. General (and former New York Governor and Senator) John Adams Dix served as the temporary chairman and Wisconsin Senator James R. Doolittle served as permanent convention president.

In the end, the convention was not successful in unifying the country behind President Johnson. He then launched a speaking tour (known as the "Swing Around the Circle") hoping to regain public and political support. On this speaking tour, Johnson at times attacked his Republican opponents with crude and abusive language and on several occasions appeared to have had too much to drink. Ultimately, the tour was a disaster for Johnson, emboldening the Congress to override him and to impeach him in 1868.[4]

Notable attendees of the National Union Convention include:

  • Augustus C. Baldwin, U.S. Representative from Michigan
  • John Minor Botts, U.S. Representative from Virginia
  • Ralph P. Buckland, U.S. Representative from Ohio
  • Darius Couch, U.S. Army General
  • John Covode, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania
  • Edgar Cowan, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
  • James A. Cravens, U.S. Representative from Indiana
  • William Earl Dodge, U.S. Representative from New York
  • James Rood Doolittle, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin
  • William McKee Dunn, U.S. Representative from Indiana
  • Joseph Barton Elam, U.S. Representative from Louisiana
  • James Edward English, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Connecticut
  • Nathan A. Farwell, U.S. Senator from Maine
  • Thomas W. Ferry, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Michigan
  • Horace Greeley, publisher and U.S. Representative from New York
  • William S. Groesbeck, state legislator from Ohio
  • Andrew Jackson Hamilton, U.S. Representative from Texas
  • Aaron Harding, U.S. Representative from Kentucky
  • James K. Holland, state legislator from Texas
  • Samuel Hooper, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
  • Reverdy Johnson, U.S. Senator from Maryland
  • James Harlan, U.S. Senator from Iowa
  • Jacob Merritt Howard, U.S. Senator from Michigan
  • Henry Jarvis Raymond, U.S. Representative from New York
  • William Lawrence, U.S. Representative from Ohio
  • John Wesley Longyear, U.S. Representative from Michigan
  • Samuel S. Marshall, U.S. Representative from Illinois
  • Horace Maynard, U.S. Representative from Tennessee
  • Robert Mallory, U.S. Representative from Kentucky
  • Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson, U.S. Representative from Tennessee
  • Richard Oglesby, Governor of Illinois
  • James Lawrence Orr, Governor of South Carolina
  • George Hunt Pendleton, U.S. Senator from Ohio
  • Cyrus L. Pershing, jurist and later candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania
  • Thomas G. Pratt, Governor and U.S. Senator from Maryland
  • James S. Rollins, U.S. Representative from Missouri
  • Robert Cumming Schenck, U.S. Representative from Ohio
  • James Speed, U.S. Attorney General
  • John Dodson Stiles, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania
  • Byron Gray Stout, U.S. Representative from Michigan
  • Theodore Tilton
  • William Barrett Washburn, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
  • Peter Godwin Van Winkle, U.S. Senator from West Virginia
  • Fernando Wood, copperhead Mayor of New York City
  • Clement Vallandigham, copperhead from Ohio

Further reading[]

See also[]


  1. McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (1960) pp 394-420
  2. Wagstaff (1968)
  3. Wagstaff (1968)
  4. Wagstaff (1968)

External links[]