1856 Republican National Convention

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1856 Republican National Convention
1856 Presidential Election
John Charles Frémont.png William L. Dayton.jpg
Frémont and Dayton
Date(s) June 17-June 19, 1856
City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Venue Musical Fund Hall
Presidential nominee John C. Frémont of
Vice Presidential nominee William Dayton of
New Jersey

The 1856 Republican National Convention, also known as the 1st Republican National Convention, met from June 17 to June 19, 1856 at the Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The gathering nominated Major General and former Senator John C. Frémont of California and former Senator William Dayton of New Jersey for President and Vice President, respectively, as the fledgling party's standard-bearers the 1856 presidential election. The convention also appointed a Republican National Committee to govern the new organization.

The June 1856 Nominating Convention was preceded by an informal organizational convention held February 22-23, 1856 which elected a National Committee who set the dates of the convention and the terms for delegate participation.



On June 19, 1855, a small gathering of like-minded individuals met in Washington, D.C. where they passed a resolution noting the recent abrogation of "all compromises, real or imaginary" by the opening up of the state of Missouri and the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to the possible institution of slavery.[1] These proclaimed themselves the "Republican Association of Washington, District of Columbia" and passed a simple four plank platform including the demand that "There should be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for the punishment of crime, in any of the Territories of the United States."[2] A number of state organizations were soon established along similar lines and the Republican Party was effectively born.

On January 17, 1856 representatives of Republican Party organizations in Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin — all Northern states in which slavery was prohibited — issued a joint call for an "informal Convention" to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 22, 1856 in order to perfect the national organization and to call a formal, properly delegated national convention to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States for the forthcoming November 1856 election.[2] The gathering elected a governing National Executive Committee and passed various resolutions calling for the repeal of laws enabling slaveholding in free territories and "resistance by Constitutional means of Slavery in any Territory," defense of anti-slavery individuals in Kansas who were coming under physical attack, and a call to "resist and overthrow the present National Administration" of Franklin Pierce, "as it is identified with the progress of the Slave power to national supremacy."[3]

The 22-member Republican National Committee, which included one representative per state attending the Pittsburgh Convention, met in plenary session on March 27, 1856 at Willard's Hotel in Washington, DC and issued a call for a formal presidential nominating convention.[4] This was slated to begin on June 17, 1856 in Philadelphia.[4] Each state organization was to be allocated six at-large delegates, plus three delegates for each congressional district.[4]

Convention Balloting[edit]

Presidential Ballots Informal 1 Formal 1 Vice Presidential Ballots Informal 1 Formal 1
John C. Frémont 359 520 William L. Dayton 253 523
John McLean 190 37 Abraham Lincoln 110 20
Charles Sumner 2 0 Nathaniel P. Banks 46 6
William H. Seward 1 1 David L. Wilmot 43 0
Nathaniel P. Banks 1 0 Charles Sumner 35 3
Not voting 8 3 Jacob Collamer 15 0
John A. King 9 1
Samuel C. Pomeroy 8 0
Thomas Ford 7 1
Cassius M. Clay 3 0
Henry C. Carey 3 0
Whitfield S. Johnson 2 0
Joshua R. Giddings 2 0
Aaron S. Pennington 1 0
Henry Wilson 1 0
Not voting 23 7

Candidate gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Charles W. Johnson (ed.), Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864: Including Proceedings of the Antecedent National Convention Held at Pittsburg in February, 1856, as Reported by Horace Greeley. Minneapolis, MN: Harrison and Smith, Printers, 1893; pg. 3.
  2. ^ a b Johnson (ed.), Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864, pg. 4.
  3. ^ Johnson (ed.), Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864, pp. 10-11.
  4. ^ a b c Johnson (ed.), Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864, pg. 14.

Further reading[edit]

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