Election of 1860


It didn’t seem like a race for president of the United States, but rather a president for the North and a separate president for the South. Without too much drama, the Republican Party was able to nominate Abraham Lincoln, a tall senator from Illinois. Murat Halstead, a spectator describes the energy in the room, “There were thousands cheering with the energy of insanity”.


The Democrats on the other hand, had a much more difficult time deciding who they would nominate for their presidential candidate. The Democrats were already spilt between North and South Democrats. As usual, both groups disagreed on whether or not slavery should be supported. Northerners thought slavery should be decided by popular sovereignty. Southerners thought otherwise, wanting to defend slavery. The Northerners got their choice, causing 50 Southern delegates to walk out of the meeting. With the Southerners gone, the Democrats tried to nominate a representative. Stephen A. Douglas seemed to get the vote but then conflict once again rose. The convention was put off for a few days.


On the second meeting, the Southerners abandoned the convention for a second time. This time the Northern Democrats decided on Stephen A. Douglas for sure. The Southern Democrats nominated strong supporter of slavery, John Breckinridge.


There was now Lincoln (Republican), Douglas (Northern Democrat), Breckinridge (Southern Democrat), and John Bell (Constitutional Union Party). Because of each candidates views on slavery the race split into what seemed like a regional thing. Lincoln and Douglas were running for votes in the North and Breckinridge and Bell in the South. Lincoln defeated Douglas in the North and Breckinridge won in the South. Because more people lived in the North, Lincoln won the election!


The reason why the Election of 1860 was important to the Civil War is because when Lincoln won the presidential election it was the last straw for Southerners. They didn’t want to have a president who was against slavery. So they seceded. It is also important because this race was basically just a race between the North and South.





Graphs were used from http://www.multied.com/elections/1860.html