Switch from Democrat to Republican in California

“When the Southern States began to secede, California was ruled by a Democratic Governor, a Democratic legislature occupied its capital, and four Democrats were its representatives in Congress. Her forts were garrisoned by men whose loyalty in so trying an hour could only be surmised.” All federal offices were in the hands of Southern sympathizers. The war, itself, though, wrought a political upheaval in California. “Former political alliances were forgotten. Most of the Anti-Lecompton or Douglas Democrats arrayed themselves on the side of the Union. The chivalry wing of the Democratic party were either open or secret sympathizers with the Confederates.” While the Republicans dropped all but their name and came out unconditionally for the Union. And since they (the Republicans) triumphed at the polls in 1861, Union measures naturally prevailed.

(The Alta California, May 24, 1861, spoke of the military thus: “The extent of the disloyalty among officers of the United States army to their country and flag is hardly yet manifest. We learn that from the Sixth Regiment alone, which belongs to the Department of the Pacific, and two companies of which are now In barracks at Benicia, fully a third of the officers have resigned since the inauguration of President Lincoln.” Practically all left “with the avowed intention of taking positions in the Confederate Army.”)