United States presidential election, 1860

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United States presidential election, 1860
United States
1856 ←
November 6, 1860
→ 1864

All 303 electoral votes of the Electoral College
152 electoral votes needed to win
 Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Helser, 1860-crop.jpgJohn Breckinridge 1860.jpg
NomineeAbraham LincolnJohn C. Breckinridge
PartyRepublicanSouthern Democratic
Home stateIllinoisKentucky
Running mateHannibal HamlinJoseph Lane
Electoral vote18072
States carried1711
Popular vote1,865,908848,019
Percentage39.7%18.2%

 JohnBell.pngStephenADouglas.png
NomineeJohn BellStephen A. Douglas
PartyConstitutional UnionDemocratic
Home stateTennesseeIllinois
Running mateEdward EverettHerschel V. Johnson
Electoral vote3912
States carried31
Popular vote590,9011,380,202
Percentage12.6%29.5%

ElectoralCollege1860.svg

Presidential Election 1860. Red shows states won by Lincoln, green by Breckinridge, orange by Bell, and blue by Douglas
Numbers are Electoral College votes in each state by the 1850 Census.

President before election

James Buchanan
Democratic

Elected President

Abraham Lincoln
Republican

 
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United States presidential election, 1860
United States
1856 ←
November 6, 1860
→ 1864

All 303 electoral votes of the Electoral College
152 electoral votes needed to win
 Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Helser, 1860-crop.jpgJohn Breckinridge 1860.jpg
NomineeAbraham LincolnJohn C. Breckinridge
PartyRepublicanSouthern Democratic
Home stateIllinoisKentucky
Running mateHannibal HamlinJoseph Lane
Electoral vote18072
States carried1711
Popular vote1,865,908848,019
Percentage39.7%18.2%

 JohnBell.pngStephenADouglas.png
NomineeJohn BellStephen A. Douglas
PartyConstitutional UnionDemocratic
Home stateTennesseeIllinois
Running mateEdward EverettHerschel V. Johnson
Electoral vote3912
States carried31
Popular vote590,9011,380,202
Percentage12.6%29.5%

ElectoralCollege1860.svg

Presidential Election 1860. Red shows states won by Lincoln, green by Breckinridge, orange by Bell, and blue by Douglas
Numbers are Electoral College votes in each state by the 1850 Census.

President before election

James Buchanan
Democratic

Elected President

Abraham Lincoln
Republican

The United States presidential election of 1860 was the 19th quadrennial presidential election. The election was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1860 and served as the immediate impetus for the outbreak of the American Civil War. The United States had been divided during the 1850s on questions surrounding the expansion of slavery and the rights of slave owners. In 1860, these issues broke the Democratic Party into Northern and Southern factions, and a new Constitutional Union Party appeared. In the face of a divided opposition, the Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a majority of the electoral votes, putting Abraham Lincoln in the White House with almost no support from the South.

Before Lincoln's inauguration, seven Southern states declared their secession and later formed the Confederacy. Secessionists from four additional Border states joined them when Lincoln's call to restore federal property in the South forced them to take sides, and two states, Kentucky and Missouri, attempted to remain neutral. At the 1864 election, the Union had admitted Kansas, West Virginia, and Nevada as free-soil states, while the Civil War disrupted the entire electoral process in the South, as that no electoral votes were cast by any of the eleven states that had joined the Confederacy.

Historical background[edit]

The origins of the American Civil War lay in the complex issues of slavery, competing understandings of federalism, party politics, expansionism, sectionalism, tariffs, and economics. After the Mexican-American War, the issue of slavery in the new territories led to the Compromise of 1850. While the compromise averted an immediate political crisis, it did not permanently resolve the issue of The Slave Power (the power of slaveholders to control the national government).

Amid the emergence of increasingly virulent and hostile sectional ideologies in national politics, the collapse of the old Second Party System in the 1850s hampered efforts of the politicians to reach yet another compromise. The result was the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which alienated Northerners and Southerners alike. With the rise of the Republican Party, which appealed to both Northeast and Western states, the industrializing North and agrarian Midwest became committed to the economic ethos of free-labor industrial capitalism. The Kansas–Nebraska Act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing settlers in those territories to determine through Popular Sovereignty whether they would allow slavery within each territory. The act was designed by Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois. The initial purpose of the Kansas Nebraska Act was to open up many thousands of new farms and make feasible a Midwestern Transcontinental Railroad. It became problematic when popular sovereignty was written into the proposal so that the voters of the moment would decide whether slavery would be allowed. The result was that pro and anti-slavery elements flooded into Kansas with the goal of voting slavery up or down, leading to a bloody civil war there. Douglas hoped popular sovereignty would enable democracy to triumph, so he would not have to take a side on the issue of slavery. A wave of indignation erupted across the North as anti-slavery elements cried betrayal, for Kansas had been officially closed to slavery since the Missouri Compromise and that Compromise was now repealed because of popular sovereignty. Opponents denounced the law as a triumph of the hated "slave power" that is the political power of the rich slave owners, who would buy up the best lands in Kansas leaving ordinary men with the leftovers. The new Republican party which was created in opposition to the act aimed to stop the expansion of slavery and soon emerged as the dominant political party in the North.

Nominations[edit]

National (Northern) Democratic[edit]

South Carolina Institute, Charleston. site of first Democratic Convention, December Secession Convention.[1]

National (Northern) Democratic candidates:

At the convention in Charleston's Institute Hall in April 1860, 51 Southern Democrats walked out over a platform dispute. The extreme pro-slavery "Fire-Eater" William Lowndes Yancey and the Alabama delegation first left the hall, followed by the delegates of Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, three of the four delegates from Arkansas, and one of the three delegates from Delaware.

Six candidates were nominated: Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, James Guthrie of Kentucky, Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter of Virginia, Joseph Lane of Oregon, Daniel S. Dickinson of New York, and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee. Three other candidates, Isaac Toucey of Connecticut, James Pearce of Maryland, and Jefferson Davis of Mississippi (the future president of the Confederate States) also received votes. Douglas, a moderate on the slavery issue who favored "popular sovereignty", was ahead on the first ballot, needing 56.5 more votes. On the 57th ballot, Douglas was still ahead, but still 51.5 votes short of nomination. In desperation, the delegates agreed on May 3 to stop voting and adjourn the convention.

Ballots 1-19Democratic Presidential Ballot
Ballot1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th11th12th13th14th15th16th17th18th19th
Stephen A. Douglas145.5147148.5149149.5149.5150.5150.5150.5150.5150.5150.5149.5150150150150150150
James Guthrie35.536.54237.537.539.538.538.54139.539.539.539.54141.5424241.541.5
Robert M. T. Hunter4241.53641.541414140.539.539383828.52726.526262626
Joseph Lane6666676665.56.56.52020.520.520.520.520.520.5
Daniel S. Dickinson76.56.555344.5144410.50.50.50.511
Andrew Johnson12121212121211111212121212121212121212
Isaac Toucey2.52.500000000000000000
Jefferson Davis1.5111101111.51.51.51.5111111
James A. Pearce1000000000000000000
Ballots 20-38Democratic Presidential Ballot
Ballot20th21st22nd23rd24th25th26th27th28th29th30th31st32nd33rd34th35th36th37th38th
Stephen A. Douglas150150.5150.5152.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5152.5152.5152.5152151.5151.5151.5
James Guthrie4241.541.541.541.541.541.542.542424547.547.547.547.547.54864.566
Robert M. T. Hunter262626252535252525252532.522.522.522.522221616
Joseph Lane20.520.520.519.519.59.59887.55.55.514.514.512.5131312.513
Daniel S. Dickinson0.50.50.50.51.51.5121212.5131333354.54.55.55.5
Andrew Johnson12121212121212121212111111111112120.50
Isaac Toucey0000000000000000000
Jefferson Davis111111111111111111.50
James A. Pearce0000000000000000000
Ballots 39-57Democratic Presidential Ballot
Ballot39th40th41st42nd43rd44th45th46th47th48th49th50th51st52nd53rd54th55th56th57th
Stephen A. Douglas151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5151.5
James Guthrie66.566.566.566.565.565.565.565.565.565.565.565.565.565.565.56165.565.565.5
Robert M. T. Hunter16161616161616161616161616161620.5161616
Joseph Lane12.512.51313131313131313141414141416141414
Daniel S. Dickinson5.55.555555555444442444
Andrew Johnson0000000000000000000
Isaac Toucey0000000000000000000
Jefferson Davis0000111111111111111
James A. Pearce0000000000000000000


The Democrats convened again at the Front Street Theater in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 18. This time, 110 Southern delegates (led by "Fire-Eaters") walked out when the convention would not adopt a resolution supporting extending slavery into territories whose voters did not want it. Some considered Horatio Seymour a compromise candidate for the National Democratic nomination at the reconvening convention in Baltimore. Seymour wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper declaring unreservedly that he was not a candidate for either spot on the ticket. After two ballots, the remaining Democrats nominated the ticket of Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois for president. Benjamin Fitzpatrick of Alabama was nominated for vice-president, but he refused the nomination. That nomination ultimately went to Herschel Vespasian Johnson of Georgia.

Baltimore Presidential Ballot 1-2Democratic Presidential Ballot
Ballot1st2nd
Stephen A. Douglas173.5181.5
James Guthrie95.5
John C. Breckinridge57.5
Horatio Seymour10
Thomas S. Bocock10
Daniel S. Dickinson0.50
Henry A. Wise0.50

Constitutional Union[edit]

A Constitutional Union campaign poster, 1860, portraying John Bell and Edward Everett, respectively the candidates for President and Vice-President. Once Lincoln was inaugurated, and called up the militia, Bell supported the secession of Tennessee. In 1863, Everett dedicated the new cemetery at Gettysburg.

Constitutional Union candidates:

Die-hard former Southern Whigs and Know Nothings[8] who felt they could support neither the National Democratic Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party nor the Republican Party formed the Constitutional Union Party. They met in Baltimore's Eastside District Courthouse, nominating John Bell of Tennessee for president over Governor Sam Houston of Texas on the second ballot. Edward Everett was nominated for vice-president at the convention on May 9, 1860, one week before Lincoln.[9]

John Bell was a former Whig who had opposed the Kansas–Nebraska Act and the Lecompton Constitution. Edward Everett had been president of Harvard University and Secretary of State in the Fillmore administration. The party platform advocated compromise to save the Union, with the slogan "the Union as it is, and the Constitution as it is."[10]

Republican Party[edit]

Republican candidates:

Chicago Wigwam, Republican Convention

The Republican National Convention met in mid-May, after the Democrats had been forced to adjourn their convention in Charleston. With the Democrats in disarray and with a sweep of the Northern states possible, the Republicans were confident going into their convention in Chicago. William H. Seward of New York was considered the front runner, followed by Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, and Missouri's Edward Bates.

As the convention developed, however, it was revealed that Seward, Chase, and Bates had each alienated factions of the Republican Party. Delegates were concerned that Seward was too closely identified with the radical wing of the party, and his moves toward the center had alienated the radicals. Chase, a former Democrat, had alienated many of the former Whigs by his coalition with the Democrats in the late 1840s, had opposed tariffs demanded by Pennsylvania, and critically, had opposition from his own delegation from Ohio. Bates outlined his positions on the extension of slavery into the territories and equal constitutional rights for all citizens, positions that alienated his supporters in the border states and Southern conservatives. German Americans in the party opposed Bates because of his past association with the Know Nothings.

Since it was essential to carry the West, and because Lincoln had a national reputation from his debates and speeches as the most articulate moderate, he won the party's nomination for president on the third ballot on May 18, 1860. Senator Hannibal Hamlin of Maine was nominated for vice-president, defeating Cassius Clay of Kentucky.

The party platform[11] promised not to interfere with slavery in the states, but suggested an opposition to slavery in the territories, The platform promised that tariffs protecting industry and workers would be imposed, a Homestead Act granting free farmland in the West to settlers, and the funding of a transcontinental railroad. There was no mention of Mormonism (which had been condemned in the Party's 1856 platform), the Fugitive Slave law, personal liberty laws, or the Dred Scott decision.[12] While the Seward forces were disappointed at the nomination of a little-known western upstart, they rallied behind Lincoln. Abolitionists, however, were angry at the selection of a moderate and had little faith in Lincoln.[13][14]

Republican Presidential and Vice Presidential Ballots
Republican Presidential BallotRepublican Vice-Presidential Ballot
Candidates1st2nd3rd Before Shifts3rd After ShiftsCandidates1st2nd
Abraham Lincoln102181231.5349Hannibal Hamlin194367
William H. Seward173.5184.5180111.5Cassius M. Clay100.586
Simon Cameron50.5200John Hickman5713
Salmon P. Chase4942.524.52Andrew Horatio Reeder510
Edward Bates4835220Nathaniel Prentice Banks38.50
Benjamin F. Wade21000Henry Winter Davis80
William L. Dayton141011Sam Houston60
John McLean12850.5William L. Dayton30
Jacob Collamer10000John M. Reed10
Cassius M. Clay0211
John C. Fremont1000
John M. Read1000
Charles Sumner1000

Constitutional (Southern) Democratic[edit]

Southern Democratic candidates:

Maryland Institute Hall, Baltimore Here bolting delegates nominated Breckinridge before Richmond vote[15]


Prior to April's suspended Democratic Convention in Charleston, Yancey sponsored a caucus of Deep South delegations attended by Georgia (10 Electoral College votes), Alabama (9 E.C.) Mississippi (7 E.C.), Louisiana (6 E.C.), Arkansas (4 E.C.), Texas (4 E.C.) and Florida (3 E.C.). They reached a tentative consensus to "stop Douglas" by saddling him with an intolerable platform were he to accept.[16]

After their walkout, which included South Carolina (8 E.C.) the eight delegations of the Charleston bolters re-convened in Richmond, Virginia on June 11. South Carolina and Florida stayed behind in Richmond, the others attended the Democratic Convention in Baltimore on June 18, where they bolted again and nominated John Breckinridge and Joseph Lane there at Baltimore's Institute Hall, and adopting the platform from Charleston which had led to the National Democratic Party split.[17]

Led by Yancey, a remnant of Southern Democrats from Maryland Institute Hall, almost entirely from the Lower South, reconvened on June 28 in Richmond, Virginia, where the "Fire-Eater Robert Rhett had been waiting. Less than half the Southern delegates in Baltimore gathered to re-nominate the pro-slavery incumbent vice-president, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, for president, and Joseph Lane of Oregon for Vice President.[15]

People's Party nomination[edit]

The People's Party was a loose association of the supporters of Senator Samuel Houston. On April 20, 1860, the party held what it termed a national convention to nominate Houston for President on the San Jacinto Battlefield in Texas. Houston's supporters at the gathering did not nominate a Vice Presidential candidate since they expected later gatherings to carry out that function. Later mass meetings were held in northern cities, such as New York City on May 30, 1860, but they too failed to nominate a Vice Presidential candidate. Houston withdrew from the race on August 16, convinced that his candidacy would only make it easier for the Republican candidate to win, and urged the formation of a Unified "Union" ticket in opposition to it. [18] [19]

Liberty (Union) Party nomination[edit]

Liberty (Union) candidates:

This was a splinter or remnant of the former Liberty Party of the 1840s, after most of its membership had left to join the Free Soil Party, then the Republican party. A convention of 100 delegates was held in Convention Hall, Syracuse, New York, on August 29, 1860. Delegates were in attendance from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Massachusetts. Several of the delegates were women.

Gerrit Smith had sent a letter in which he stated that his health had been so poor that he had not been able to be away from home since 1858, but he remained popular in the party because he was named as an abolitionist who helped inspire some of John Brown's supporters at Harpers Ferry. In the letter, Smith donated $50 to pay for the printing of ballots in the various states.

There was quite a spirited contest between the friends of Gerrit Smith and William Goodell in regard to the nomination for the presidency." Gerrit Smith was nominated for President and Samuel McFarland of Pennsylvania was nominated for Vice President.

In Ohio, a slate of Presidential Electors pledged to Smith ran with the name of the Union Party. [20]

Campaign[edit]

Watchman Lincoln arrests others breaking into White House. Bell counts on Douglas. Douglas tries keys of 'regular nomination'. Pres. Buchanan tries to pull Breckinridge up into a window. 'Breck' complains of weakness, so 'compelled to dissolve the Union'.[21]

The contest in the North was between Lincoln and Douglas, but only the latter took to the stump and gave speeches and interviews in both sections, North and South. In the South, John C. Breckinridge and John Bell were the main rivals, but Douglas had an important presence in southern cities, especially among Irish Americans.[22] Fusion tickets of the unionist non-Republicans developed in New York and Rhode Island, and partially in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Before 1860, a historian later wrote, "people saw candidates in the flesh less often than they saw a perfect rainbow".[23] Lincoln followed the longstanding tradition of almost every presidential candidate since George Washington. During his front porch campaign, Lincoln made no new speeches and did not leave his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. Although he met with hundreds of visitors, Lincoln answered all political questions by advising listeners to read his published speeches, such as those from the debates with Douglas in 1858; even an August crowd of 30,000 that marched in a parade eight miles long in front of his home failed to cause Lincoln to speak more than a few words.[24][25]

Pro-Douglas newspapers published cartoons attacking Lincoln's support from New York's free blacks and Greeley abolitionists. Douglas won 30 per cent of the popular vote, Lincoln won 40 per cent.

Douglas visited 23 states by contrast,[23] becoming the first presidential candidate in American history to undertake a nationwide speaking tour. In July he left New York City to Ontario County in upstate New York, allegedly to visit his mother. Republicans and newspapers mocked Douglas' trip, which required two months and lengthy detours through New England, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. While "in search of his mother", Douglas could not resist the demands of the many crowds that met him at train stations and asked him to make speeches. After finally meeting his mother, Douglas traveled to North Carolina, allegedly for family legal issues, but with more lengthy detours throughout the South.[24] He did not expect to win many electoral votes there, but he spoke for the maintenance of the Union. The dispute over the Dred Scott case had helped the Republicans easily dominate the Northern states' congressional delegations, allowing that party, although a newcomer on the political scene, easily to spread its popular influence.

In August, mirroring Douglas's stumping throughout the South, William Lowndes Yancey made a speaking tour of the North. He had been instrumental in denying the Charleston nomination to Douglas, and he supported the Richmond Convention nominating Breckinridge with his Alabama Platform. Venues in Boston, New York, and Cincinnati that hosted Emerson and Thoreau opened their doors to the "Fire-Eater". He claimed that Lincoln's restricting slavery would bring an end of Union, and pleaded that a Northern voter could save the Union voting for anyone but Lincoln.[26]

Because Lincoln did not campaign or give speeches, state and county Republican organizations worked on his behalf to sustain party enthusiasm and thus obtain high turnout. There was little effort to convert non-Republicans, and there was virtually no campaigning in the South except for a few border cities such as St. Louis, Missouri, and Wheeling, Virginia; indeed, the party did not even run a slate in most of the South. In the North, there were thousands of Republican speakers, tons of campaign posters and leaflets, and thousands of newspaper editorials. These focused foremost on the party platform, but also drew attention to Lincoln's life story, making the most of his boyhood poverty, his pioneer background, his native genius, and his rise from obscurity. His nicknames, "Honest Abe" and "the Rail-Splitter," were exploited to the fullest. The goal was to emphasize the superior power of "free labor," whereby a common farm boy could work his way to the top by his own efforts.[27]

The 1860 campaign was less frenzied than in 1856, when the Republicans had crusaded zealously, and their opponents counter-crusaded with warnings of civil war. In 1860 every observer calculated the Republicans had an almost unbeatable advantage in the Electoral College, since they dominated almost every northern state. Republicans felt victory at hand, and used para-military campaign organizations such as the Wide Awakes to rally their supporters (see American election campaigns in the 19th century for campaign techniques).

Campaign buttons with Tintype portraits, 1860

Results[edit]

the unfinished Capitol dome, 1860
Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln
the Capitol, March 4, 1861
1860 Electoral College map with 35 states
state Election results
by Electoral College vote

The election was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1860. That election was noteworthy for exaggerated sectionalism in a country that was soon to dissolve into civil war. In yet another presidential election, no party found the key to popular-vote majorities. All six Presidents elected since Andrew Jackson (1832) had been one-term presidents, the last four elected with a popular vote under 51 per cent.[28] But Lincoln had won an Electoral College majority by carrying states above the Mason–Dixon line and north of the Ohio River, plus the far west California and Oregon. Unlike his predecessors, he carried not one slave-holding state.

Lincoln won the Electoral College with less than 40 per cent of the popular vote nationwide, and the split in the Democratic party is sometimes held responsible for Lincoln's victory.[29] But Lincoln would still have won in the Electoral College, 169 to 134, even if all anti-Lincoln voters had united behind a single candidate. Republican victory was due to the concentration of votes in the free states which together controlled a majority of the presidential electors.[30] In the three states where anti-Lincoln vote did combine into fusion tickets, Lincoln still won in two states and split New Jersey's electoral college.[31]

Like Lincoln, Breckinridge and Bell won no electoral votes outside their section. While Bell retired to his family business, quietly supporting his state's secession, Breckinridge served as a Confederate general. He finished second in the Electoral College with 72 votes, carrying 11 of 15 slave states (including South Carolina, whose electors were chosen by the state legislature, not popular vote). He won a distant third in national popular vote at 18 per cent, but he accrued 50–75 per cent in the first seven states that would become the Confederacy, and took nine of the eleven states which eventually joined.[32]

Bell carried three slave states Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, and lost Maryland by 722 votes. Nevertheless, he finished a remarkable second in all the slave states won by Breckinridge and Douglas. He won 45–47 per cent for Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina and he canvassed respectably with 36–40 per cent in Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, Georgia and Florida. While Bell trailed last in national popular vote at 12 per cent in the event, he had a winning total of 177 electoral votes in play when adding his fusion tickets in Rhode Island 38 per cent, New York 46per cent and New Jersey 52 per cent[33]

Douglas was the only candidate winning electoral votes in both slave and free states, free New Jersey and slave Missouri. But he finished last in the Electoral College. His support was geographically the most widespread, finishing second behind Lincoln in the popular vote with 29.5 per cent. He gained 51 per cent of the vote in New Jersey to split, and 35 per cent in Missouri to win its electoral votes. Douglas gained a 28–47 per cent share in the states of the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Trans-Mississippi West, slipping to 19–39 per cent in New England. Outside his section, Douglas took 15–17 per cent of the popular vote total in the slave states of Kentucky, Alabama and Louisiana, then 10 per cent or less in the nine remaining slave states.

An election for disunion[edit]

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage for the winning candidate. Shades of red are for Lincoln (Republican), shades of blue are for Douglas (Northern Democratic), shades of green are for Breckinridge (Southern Democratic), shades of yellow are for Bell (Constitutional Union), and shades of purple are for "Fusion" (Non-Republican/Democratic Fusion).

Bell and Douglas had campaigned that they could save the Union from the inevitable result of disunion following a Lincoln election. Loyal army officers in Virginia, Kansas and South Carolina warned Lincoln of military preparations. Secessionists threw their support behind Breckinridge in an attempt to either force the anti-Republican candidates to coordinate their electoral votes, or throw the election into the House, where the selection of President would be made by the Representatives elected in 1858, before the Republican majorities in both House and Senate achieved in 1860 were seated in the new 37th Congress. Mexican War hero Winfield Scott suggested to Lincoln that he assume powers of Commander-in-Chief before inauguration. But historian Bruce Chadwick observes that Lincoln and his advisors ignored the widespread alarms and threats of secession as mere election trickery.

Indeed, voting in the South was not as monolithic as an Electoral College map appeared. Economically, culturally, and politically, the South was made up of three regions. In the states of the "Upper" South, also known as the "Border States" (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri), unionist popular votes were scattered among Lincoln, Douglas, and Bell, to form a majority in all four. In four of the five "Middle" South states, there was a unionist majority divided between Douglas and Bell in Virginia and Tennessee; in North Carolina and Arkansas, the unionist (Bell+Douglas) vote approached a majority. Texas was the only Middle South state that Breckinridge carried convincingly. In three of the six "Deep" South, unionists (Bell+Douglas) won divided majorities in Georgia and Louisiana or neared it in Alabama. Breckinridge convincingly carried only three of the six states of the Deep South (South Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi).[34] These three Deep South states were all among the four Southern states with the lowest white populations; altogether, they held only nine-percent of Southern whites.[35]

Of the 1,871 counties making returns, Breckinridge won 663 (35.44 per cent), Lincoln won 557 (29.77 per cent), Bell won 355 (18.97 per cent), and Douglas won 256 (13.68 per cent). The "Fusion" slate came first in 37 counties (1.98 per cent). Two counties (0.11 per cent) split evenly between Breckinridge and Bell while one county (0.05 per cent) in Iowa split evenly between Lincoln and Douglas.

The voter turnout rate in 1860 was the second-highest on record (81.2 per cent, second only to 1876, with 81.8 per cent).[36] In the states that would become the Confederacy, the three states with the highest voter turnouts voted the most one-sided. Texas, with five percent of the total wartime South's population, voted 80 per cent Breckinridge. Kentucky and Missouri, with one-fourth the total population, voted 68 per cent pro-union Bell, Douglas and Lincoln. In comparison, the six states of the Deep South making up one-fourth the Confederate voting population, split 57 per cent Breckinridge versus 43 per cent for the three pro-union candidates.[37] The four states that were admitted to the Confederacy after Fort Sumter held almost half its population. These voted a narrow combined majority of 53 per cent for the pro-union candidates.

In the eleven states that would later declare their secession from the Union and be controlled by Confederate armies, ballots for Lincoln were cast only in Virginia,[38][39] where he received only 1.1 per cent of the popular vote.[34][40] In order to distribute ballots in a state, candidates needed citizens in that state who would pledge to vote for the candidate in the Electoral College. In ten southern slave states, no citizens would publicly pledge such support for Lincoln.

In the four slave states that did not secede (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware), Lincoln came in fourth in every state except Delaware (where he finished third). Within the 15 slave states, Lincoln won only two counties out of 996,[34] both in Missouri.[41] (In the 1856 election, the Republican candidate for president had received no votes at all in 10 of the 14 slave states with a popular vote).

Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular vote(a)Electoral
vote
Running mate
CountPctVice-presidential candidateHome stateElect. vote
Abraham LincolnRepublicanIllinois1,865,90839.8%180Hannibal HamlinMaine180
John C. BreckinridgeSouthern DemocraticKentucky848,01918.1%72Joseph LaneOregon72
John BellConstitutional Union/WhigTennessee590,90112.6%39Edward EverettMassachusetts39
Stephen A. DouglasNorthern DemocraticIllinois1,380,20229.5%12Herschel Vespasian JohnsonGeorgia12
Other5310.0%Other
Total4,685,561100%303303
Needed to win152152

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1860 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (July 27, 2005). Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 31, 2005).

(a) The popular vote figures exclude South Carolina where the Electors were chosen by the state legislature rather than by popular vote.

Geography of results[edit]

Cartographic gallery[edit]

Results by state[edit]

Abraham Lincoln
Republican
Stephen Douglas
(Northern) Democratic
John Breckinridge
(Southern) Democratic
John Bell
Constitutional Union
Fusion
(Non-Republican)
(Democratic Fusion)
State Total
Stateelectoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
#
Alabama9no ballots0001361813,61815.1-0004866948,66954.0927,83530.9-no ballots90,122AL
Arkansas4no ballots5,3579.9-28,73253.1420,06337.0-no ballots54,152AR
California438,73332.3437,99931.7-33,96928.4-9,1117.6-no ballots119,812CA
Connecticut643,48858.1615,43120.6-14,37219.2-1,5282.0-no ballots74,819CT
Delaware33,82223.7-1,0666.6-7,33945.533,88824.1-no ballots16,115DE
Florida3no ballots2231.7-8,27762.234,80136.1-no ballots13,301FL
Georgia10no ballots11,58110.9-52,17648.91042,96040.3-no ballots106,717GA
Illinois11172,17150.711160,21547.2-2,3310.7-4,9141.4-no ballots339,631IL
Indiana13139,03351.113115,50942.4-12,2954.5-5,3061.9-no ballots272,143IN
Iowa470,30254.6455,63943.2-1,0350.8-1,7631.4-no ballots128,739IA
Kentucky121,3640.9-25,65117.5-53,14336.3-66,05845.212no ballots146,216KY
Louisiana6no ballots7,62515.1-22,68144.9620,20440.0-no ballots50,510LA
Maine862,81162.2829,69329.4-6,3686.3-2,0462.0-no ballots100,918ME
Maryland82,2942.5-5,9666.4-42,48245.9841,76045.1-no ballots92,502MD
Massachusetts13106,68462.91334,37020.3-6,1633.6-22,33113.2-no ballots169,548MA
Michigan688,48157.2665,05742.0-8050.5-4150.3-no ballots154,758MI
Minnesota422,06963.4411,92034.3-7482.2-500.1-no ballots34,787MN
Mississippi7no ballots3,2824.7-40,76859.0725,04536.2-no ballots69,095MS
Missouri917,02810.3-58,80135.5931,36218.9-58,37235.3-no ballots165,563MO
New Hampshire537,51956.9525,88739.3-2,1253.2-4120.6-no ballots65,943NH
New Jersey758,34648.14[nb 1]no ballots3[nb 2]no ballots-no ballots-62,869[nb 3]51.9-[nb 4]121,215NJ
New York35362,64653.735no ballots-no ballots-no ballots-312,51046.3-[nb 5]675,156NY
North Carolina10no ballots2,7372.8-48,84650.51045,12946.7-no ballots96,712NC
Ohio23231,70952.323187,42142.3-11,4062.6-12,1942.8-no ballots442,730OH
Oregon35,32936.134,13628.0-5,07534.4-2181.5-no ballots14,758OR
Pennsylvania27268,03056.32716,7653.5-[nb 6]no ballots12,7762.7-178,871[nb 7]37.5-[nb 8]476,442PA
Rhode Island412,24461.447,707[nb 9]38.6-no ballotsno ballotsno ballots19,951RI
South Carolina8no popular voteno popular voteno popular vote8no popular voteno popular vote-SC
Tennessee12no ballots11,2817.7-65,09744.6-69,72847.712no ballots146,106TN
Texas4no ballots180.0-47,45475.5415,38324.5-no ballots62,855TX
Vermont533,80875.758,64919.4-2180.5-1,9694.4-no ballots44,644VT
Virginia151,8871.1-16,1989.7-74,32544.5-74,48144.615no ballots166,891VA
Wisconsin586,11056.6565,02142.7-8870.6-1610.1-no ballots152,179WI
TOTALS:3031,865,90839.81801,004,82321.512669,14814.372590,90112.639554,25011.804,685,030US
TO WIN:152

Trigger for the Civil War[edit]

The 1860 election was one of the last significant events that propelled the United States towards the Civil War. Since Lincoln had won without a single Southern state, the South began to believe that they had an extremely insignificant voice and representation in governmental elections. Since Lincoln was not on the voting ballot in ten southern states, Southerners were outraged that he was elected;[44][not in citation given] above that, most believed that he was going to abolish slavery because he ran upon the Republican platform, which opposed the expansion of slavery. Without slaves, which were the main source of agricultural labor, the Southern economy would be severely damaged. Believing that their votes had no say in elections,[citation needed] the Southern states decided to secede before Lincoln's inauguration.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 4 of the electors pledged to Lincoln were elected since the Breckinridge and Bell electors finished behind all other candidates.[42]
  2. ^ The 3 Douglas electors were elected.[42]
  3. ^ The Fusion vote used here is the vote for the high elector on the slate, who was pledged to Douglas.[42]
  4. ^ The Fusion slate consisted of 3 electors pledged to Douglas, and 2 each to Breckinridge and Bell. Nonetheless, different electors appeared in some counties for Breckinridge and Bell, resulting in lower totals for them and a split electoral outcome. The 3 Douglas electors were elected and 4 of those pledged to Lincoln. The Breckinridge and Bell electors finished behind all other candidates.[42]
  5. ^ The slate of electors were pledged to 3 different candidates: 18 to Douglas, 10 to Bell, and 7 to Breckinridge.[42]
  6. ^ Not all of the Douglas supporters agreed to the Reading slate deal and established a separate Douglas only ticket. This slate comprised the 12 Douglas electoral candidates on the Reading ticket, and 15 additional Douglas supporters. This ticket was usually referred to as the Straight Douglas ticket. Thus 12 electoral candidates appeared on 2 tickets, Reading and Straight Douglas.[43]
  7. ^ This vote is listed under the Fusion column, not the Breckinridge column as many other sources do, because this ticket was pledged to either of two candidates based on the national result. Additionally, the slate was almost equally divided between the supporters of Breckinridge and Douglas.[43]
  8. ^ The Democratic Party chose its slate of electors before the National Convention in Charleston, SC. Since this was decided before the party split, both Douglas supporters and Breckinridge supporters claimed the right for their man to be considered the party candidate and the support of the electoral slate. Eventually, the state party worked out an agreement: if either candidate could win the national election with Pennsylvania's electoral vote, then all her electoral votes would go to that candidate. Of the 27 electoral candidates, 15 were Breckinridge supporters; the remaining 12 were for Douglas. This was often referred to as the Reading electoral slate, because it was in that city that the state party chose it.[43]
  9. ^ The Douglas ticket in Rhode Island was supported by Breckinridge and Bell supporters.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lossing, Benson John. Pictorial history of the civil war in the United States of America, Volume 1 (1866) Poughkeepsie, NY. Free ebook. viewed January 26, 2012. Bolters met at St. Andrew's Hall.
  2. ^ John Bell was a former U.S. Senator, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, U.S. Secretary of War
  3. ^ Sam Houston was a sitting Governor of Texas, former U.S. Senator, President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of Tennessee, and U.S. Representative (Tennessee-7)
  4. ^ John Crittenden was a sitting U.S. Senator, former U.S. Attorney General, Governor of Kentucky, U.S. Representative (Kentucky-8)
  5. ^ Edward Everett was a former U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Minister to the United Kingdom, Governor of Massachusetts, U.S. Representative (Massachusetts-4)
  6. ^ William A. Graham was a former U.S. Senator, Governor of North Carolina, U.S. Secretary of the Navy
  7. ^ William C. Rives was a former U.S. Senator 1832–1834, and again 1836-1845
  8. ^ "How (And Where) Lincoln Won", New York Times
  9. ^ Lossing, Benson John. Pictorial history of the civil war in the United States of America, Volume 1 (1866) Poughkeepsie, NY. p. 29. Free ebook. viewed January 26, 2012. The building had been the First Presbyterian Meeting House (Two Towers Church) on Fayette Street, between Calvert and North Street, demolished before 1866 and occupied by the United States Courthouse.
  10. ^ Getting the Message Out! Stephen A. Douglas
  11. ^ http://cprr.org/Museum/Ephemera/Republican_Platform_1860.html
  12. ^ Rhodes (1920) 2:420
  13. ^ Rhodes (1920) 2:429
  14. ^ Dale Baum, The Civil War Party System: The Case of Massachusetts, 1848–1876 (1984) p. 49
  15. ^ a b Freehling, William W., The Road to Disunion: Secessionists Triumphant, Vol.2. Oxford University, 2007, p. 321
  16. ^ Heidler, David S., "Pulling the Temple Down: the fire-eaters and the destruction of the Union", ISBN 0-8117-0634-6, p. 149. Moderate Jefferson Davis saw the Deep South coalition with Buchanan administration enemies as potentially dangerous, and called for abandoning a platform as the Whigs had in 1840, just settling on an agreed to candidate. The moderates, principally found in Alabama and Georgia, were outvoted in caucus.
  17. ^ Heidler, "Pulling the Temple Down", p. 157. Baltimore's Institute Hall, not be confused with Charleston's Institute Hall also used by the walk-out delegations.
  18. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1860/05/30/news/political-movements-houston-mass-meeting-large-gathering-people-union-square.html
  19. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1860/09/03/news/letter-from-sam-houston-withdrawing-from-the-canvass.html
  20. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=491740
  21. ^ http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/app/item/2003674583/
  22. ^ David T. Gleeson, The Irish in the South, 1815–1877 (University of North Carolina Press, 2001) p. 138
  23. ^ a b Maury Klein, Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War. pp. 27–28
  24. ^ a b Goodheart, Adam (2011). 1861: The Civil War Awakening. Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 41–43. ISBN 978-0-307-59666-6. 
  25. ^ "American President:Abraham Lincoln:Campaigns and Elections". Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  26. ^ Freehling, op.cit., p. 336
  27. ^ Benjamin P. Thomas, Abraham Lincoln, a biography (1952) p. 216; Luthin (1944); Nevins, (1950)
  28. ^ http://www.uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/ Only Franklin Pierce had achieved a statistical majority in the popular vote (50.83 per cent).
  29. ^ e.g. the 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia's article on the United States, vol, 15, p. 171
  30. ^ Chadwick, Bruce. "Lincoln for President: an unlikely candidate, an audacious strategy, and the victory no one saw coming" (2009) Ch. 10 The Eleventh Hour. p. 289 ISBN 978-1-4022-2504-8 Lincoln's strategy was deliberately focused, in collaboration with Republican Party Chairman Thurlow Weed, "Find 'em and vote 'em." and based on expanding on the states Fremont had won four years earlier. New York was critical with 35 Electoral College votes, 11.5 per cent of the total. The Wide Awakes young Republican men's organization massively expanded registered voter lists. But Lincoln was not even on the ballot in many southern states.
  31. ^ The three states were New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Allan Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln: Prologue to Civil War (1950), p. 312 notes that if the opposition had formed fusion tickets in every state, Lincoln still would have 169 electoral votes; he needed 152 to win the Electoral College. Potter, The impending crisis, 1848–1861 (1976) p. 437, and Luthin, The First Lincoln Campaign p. 227 both conclude it was impossible for Lincoln's opponents to combine because they hated each other. The fractured Democratic vote did tip California, Oregon, and four New Jersey "New Jersey's Vote in 1860". NY Times. December 26, 1892.  electoral votes to Lincoln, giving him 180 Electoral College votes. 1860 election Only in California, Oregon, and Illinois was Lincoln's victory margin less than seven percent. In New England, he won every county.
  32. ^ He carried the border slave states of Delaware and Maryland and losing Virginia and Tennessee. Breckinridge received very little support in the free states, showing some strength only in California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
  33. ^ In a fusion ticket, the votes won are ascribed to the lead candidate, in the case of Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York, for the purposes of defeating Lincoln. Were Bell to have triumphed, scholars would take the popular votes from those fusion states out of the Douglas column and place them in Bell's column, adding 386,086 to his popular vote total, behind Douglas 17,129 then, and ahead of Breckinridge 128,968.
  34. ^ a b c "HarpWeek 1860 Election Overview". Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  35. ^ Freehling, William W., The Road to Disunion: Volume II. Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 447.
  36. ^ Vshadow: Lincoln's Election
  37. ^ "Deep South" here in presidential popular votes refers to Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. It excludes South Carolina from the calculation because it chose presidential electors in the state legislature in 1860, without a popular vote.
  38. ^ "Republican ballot 1860". Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  39. ^ "Election of 1860 – "Read Your Ballot"". Retrieved 2011-04-28.  Ballots were printed sheets, usually printed by the party, with the name of the candidate(s) and the names of presidential electors who were pledged to that presidential candidate. Voters brought the ballot to the polling station, and dropped it publicly into the election box. In order to receive any votes, a candidate (or his party) had to have ballots printed, and have organized a group of electors pledged to that candidate. Except in some border areas the Republican party did not attempt any organization in the South and did not print ballots there because almost no one was willing to acknowledge publicly they were voting for Lincoln for fear of violence.
  40. ^ "1860 Election Returns in Virginia, by County". Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  41. ^ St. Louis County, Missouri and Gasconade County, Missouri according to http://www.missouridivision-scv.org/election.htm
  42. ^ a b c d e Dubin, Michael J., United States Presidential Elections, 1788–1860: The Official Results by County and State, McFarland & Company, 2002, p. 187
  43. ^ a b c d Dubin, Michael J., United States Presidential Elections, 1788–1860: The Official Results by County and State, McFarland & Company, 2002, p. 188
  44. ^ "American President: Abraham Lincoln: Campaigns and Elections". Rectors and Visitors of the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2013-10-29. [citation needed]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]