The Union Party was a fusion political party conceived by Republicans in 1861 to combine people of all political affiliations into a single movement committed to the preservation of the Union and to war. Republicans wanted to project an image of wartime nonpartisanship and they also expected to capitalize on wartime patriotism to siphon off Democratic support. Most Democrats, including a significant number willing to tone down their partisan rhetoric, refused to bolt their party altogether to join the Union coalition (the so-called "War Democrats" were the notable exception). After 1862, and for the duration of the war, Republicans and occasionally War Democrats ran against regular Democrats under the Union Party banner. The party became defunct after Reconstruction.
- Silbey, Joel H., A Respectable Minority: The Democratic Party in the Civil War Era, 1860–1868. New York: W.W. Norton, (1977)