In 1864, to counter Little Mac and secure more of the soldier vote, Abraham Lincoln might have turned to a War Democrat from the Midwest, one of several of the Fighting McCooks.
Vice Presidential Candidate Selected, 1864
Written by Timothy AbbottA McCook presidency has too many variables to project with any confidence what the course of Reconstruction might have been. Assuming any of the "Tribe of Dan" or "Tribe of John" agreed to run on the national Union Party ticket, they would have faced tremendous challenges from the Radical Republicans. Even if this split ticket won the election, Lincoln?s assassination might have lead to a very weak McCook presidency with a hostile congress and pressure from northern Democrats to go easy on Reconstruction and light on the rights of freedmen.
Perhaps a President McCook would become even more of a hardliner (in for a penny, in for a pound). Or perhaps he would have reshuffled the cabinet, pushing some of the radicals out. There might have been no Seward's Folly: no Alaska. Although several of the McCooks when to to political careers after the war, as a successor to Lincoln they would certainly be no better than Johnson.