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
Turnout 81.2%[1]
  AbrahamLincoln.png John C Breckinridge-04775-restored.jpg
Nominee Abraham Lincoln John C. Breckinridge
Party Republican Southern Democratic
Home state Illinois Kentucky
Running mate Hannibal Hamlin Joseph Lane
Electoral vote 180 72
States carried 18 11
Popular vote 1,865,908 848,019
Percentage 39.7% 18.2%

  John-bell-brady-handy-cropped.jpg StephenADouglas.png
Nominee John Bell Stephen A. Douglas
Party Constitutional Union Democratic
Home state Tennessee Illinois
Running mate Edward Everett Herschel V. Johnson
Electoral vote 39 12
States carried 3 1
Popular vote 590,901 1,380,202
Percentage 12.6% 29.5%


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

Elected President

Abraham Lincoln

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 no electoral votes were cast by any of the eleven states that had joined the Confederacy.

The Split in the Democratic party[edit]

South Carolina Institute, Charleston. site of first Democratic Convention, December Secession Convention.[2]

National (Northern) Democratic candidates:

The first convention[edit]

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.

The Second convention[edit]

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.

The third (Southern rump) convention[edit]

Southern Democratic candidates:

Maryland Institute Hall, Baltimore Here bolting delegates nominated Breckinridge before Richmond vote[3]

The Charleston bolters re-convened in Richmond, Virginia on June 11. When the Democrats reconvened in Baltimore, they rejoined (except South Carolina and Florida, who stayed in Richmond).

When the convention seated two replacement delegations on 18 June, they bolted again, now accompanied by nearly all other Southern delegates. This larger group met immediately in Baltimore's Institute Hall. They adopted the pro-slavery platform rejected at Charleston, and nominated Vice President John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky for President, and Senator Joseph Lane of Oregon for Vice President.[4]

Yancey and some (less than half) of the bolters, almost entirely from the Lower South, met on 28 June in Richmond, along with the South Carolina and Florida delegations. This convention affirmed the nominations of Breckinridge and Lane.[3]

Richmond Southern Democratic Presidential Ballot 1 Richmond Southern Democratic Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st
John C. Breckinridge 81
Daniel S. Dickinson 24

Constitutional Union Party[edit]

As the Republican Party strengthened and the Democratic Party fractured, many former Whigs and Know Nothings founded the Constitutional Union Party. With the sole purpose of maintaining the Union by preserving the North-South status quo, the party's delegates met in Baltimore to nominate its candidates. John Bell of Tennessee received the nomination for the presidency and Edward Everett of Massachusetts was nominated for vice-president.

The Constitutional Union Ticket[edit]

Republican Party[edit]

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[5] advocated non-interference with slavery in the states, but suggested an opposition to slavery in the territories. The platform promoted tariffs protecting industry and workers, 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 Act, personal liberty laws, or the Dred Scott decision.[6] 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.[7][8]

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. [9] [10]

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. [11]


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'.[12]

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.[13] 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".[14] 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.[15][16]

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,[14] 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.[15] 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.[17]

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 (now West 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.[18]

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


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 and was noteworthy for exaggerated sectionalism in a country that was soon to dissolve into civil war. Voter turnout was 81.2%, the highest in American history at that point, and the second-highest overall.[19][20] All six Presidents elected since Andrew Jackson (1832) had been one-term presidents, the last four elected with a popular vote under 51 percent.[21] Lincoln won the Electoral College with less than 40 percent of the popular vote nationwide 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.

Republican victory was due to the concentration of votes in the free states which together controlled a majority of the presidential electors.[22] The split in the Democratic party is sometimes held responsible for Lincoln's victory,[23] but he would still have won in the Electoral College, 169 to 134, even if all anti-Lincoln voters had united behind a single candidate. 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.[24]

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 percent, but he accrued 50–75 percent in the first seven states that would become the Confederacy, and took nine of the eleven states which eventually joined.[25]

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 percent 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[26]

Douglas was the only candidate winning electoral votes in both slave and free states, free New Jersey and slave Missouri. His support was geographically the most widespread, finishing second behind Lincoln in the popular vote with 29.5 percent, but he finished last in the Electoral College. He gained 51 percent of the vote in New Jersey to split, and 35 percent in Missouri to win its electoral votes. Douglas gained a 28–47 percent share in the states of the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Trans-Mississippi West, slipping to 19–39 percent in New England. Outside his section, Douglas took 15–17 percent of the popular vote total in the slave states of Kentucky, Alabama and Louisiana, then 10 percent or less in the nine remaining slave states. Douglas in his campaigning "Norfolk Doctrine", reiterated in North Carolina, promised to keep the Union together by coercion if states presumed to secede. The popular vote for Lincoln and Douglas combined was 70% of the turnout.

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).[27] 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.[28]

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).[19][20][29] 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.[30] 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,[31][32] where he received only 1.1 per cent of the popular vote.[27][33] 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,[27] both in Missouri.[34] (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 candidate Party Home state Popular vote(a) Electoral
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote
Abraham Lincoln Republican Illinois 1,865,908 39.8% 180 Hannibal Hamlin Maine 180
John C. Breckinridge Southern Democratic Kentucky 848,019 18.1% 72 Joseph Lane Oregon 72
John Bell Constitutional Union/Whig Tennessee 590,901 12.6% 39 Edward Everett Massachusetts 39
Stephen A. Douglas Northern Democratic Illinois 1,380,202 29.5% 12 Herschel Vespasian Johnson Georgia 12
Other 531 0.0% Other
Total 4,685,561 100% 303 303
Needed to win 152 152

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.

Popular vote
Electoral vote

Geography of results[edit]

Cartographic gallery[edit]

Results by state[edit]

Abraham Lincoln
Stephen Douglas
(Northern) Democratic
John Breckinridge
(Southern) Democratic
John Bell
Constitutional Union
(Democratic Fusion)
State Total
State electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
Alabama 9 no ballots 0001361813,618 15.1 - 0004866948,669 54.0 9 27,835 30.9 - no ballots 90,122 AL
Arkansas 4 no ballots 5,357 9.9 - 28,732 53.1 4 20,063 37.0 - no ballots 54,152 AR
California 4 38,733 32.3 4 37,999 31.7 - 33,969 28.4 - 9,111 7.6 - no ballots 119,812 CA
Connecticut 6 43,488 58.1 6 15,431 20.6 - 14,372 19.2 - 1,528 2.0 - no ballots 74,819 CT
Delaware 3 3,822 23.7 - 1,066 6.6 - 7,339 45.5 3 3,888 24.1 - no ballots 16,115 DE
Florida 3 no ballots 223 1.7 - 8,277 62.2 3 4,801 36.1 - no ballots 13,301 FL
Georgia 10 no ballots 11,581 10.9 - 52,176 48.9 10 42,960 40.3 - no ballots 106,717 GA
Illinois 11 172,171 50.7 11 160,215 47.2 - 2,331 0.7 - 4,914 1.4 - no ballots 339,631 IL
Indiana 13 139,033 51.1 13 115,509 42.4 - 12,295 4.5 - 5,306 1.9 - no ballots 272,143 IN
Iowa 4 70,302 54.6 4 55,639 43.2 - 1,035 0.8 - 1,763 1.4 - no ballots 128,739 IA
Kentucky 12 1,364 0.9 - 25,651 17.5 - 53,143 36.3 - 66,058 45.2 12 no ballots 146,216 KY
Louisiana 6 no ballots 7,625 15.1 - 22,681 44.9 6 20,204 40.0 - no ballots 50,510 LA
Maine 8 62,811 62.2 8 29,693 29.4 - 6,368 6.3 - 2,046 2.0 - no ballots 100,918 ME
Maryland 8 2,294 2.5 - 5,966 6.4 - 42,482 45.9 8 41,760 45.1 - no ballots 92,502 MD
Massachusetts 13 106,684 62.9 13 34,370 20.3 - 6,163 3.6 - 22,331 13.2 - no ballots 169,548 MA
Michigan 6 88,481 57.2 6 65,057 42.0 - 805 0.5 - 415 0.3 - no ballots 154,758 MI
Minnesota 4 22,069 63.4 4 11,920 34.3 - 748 2.2 - 50 0.1 - no ballots 34,787 MN
Mississippi 7 no ballots 3,282 4.7 - 40,768 59.0 7 25,045 36.2 - no ballots 69,095 MS
Missouri 9 17,028 10.3 - 58,801 35.5 9 31,362 18.9 - 58,372 35.3 - no ballots 165,563 MO
New Hampshire 5 37,519 56.9 5 25,887 39.3 - 2,125 3.2 - 412 0.6 - no ballots 65,943 NH
New Jersey 7 58,346 48.1 4[nb 1] no ballots 3[nb 2] no ballots - no ballots - 62,869[nb 3] 51.9 -[nb 4] 121,215 NJ
New York 35 362,646 53.7 35 no ballots - no ballots - no ballots - 312,510 46.3 -[nb 5] 675,156 NY
North Carolina 10 no ballots 2,737 2.8 - 48,846 50.5 10 45,129 46.7 - no ballots 96,712 NC
Ohio 23 231,709 52.3 23 187,421 42.3 - 11,406 2.6 - 12,194 2.8 - no ballots 442,730 OH
Oregon 3 5,329 36.1 3 4,136 28.0 - 5,075 34.4 - 218 1.5 - no ballots 14,758 OR
Pennsylvania 27 268,030 56.3 27 16,765 3.5 -[nb 6] no ballots 12,776 2.7 - 178,871[nb 7] 37.5 -[nb 8] 476,442 PA
Rhode Island 4 12,244 61.4 4 7,707[nb 9] 38.6 - no ballots no ballots no ballots 19,951 RI
South Carolina 8 no popular vote no popular vote no popular vote 8 no popular vote no popular vote - SC
Tennessee 12 no ballots 11,281 7.7 - 65,097 44.6 - 69,728 47.7 12 no ballots 146,106 TN
Texas 4 no ballots 18 0.0 - 47,454 75.5 4 15,383 24.5 - no ballots 62,855 TX
Vermont 5 33,808 75.7 5 8,649 19.4 - 218 0.5 - 1,969 4.4 - no ballots 44,644 VT
Virginia 15 1,887 1.1 - 16,198 9.7 - 74,325 44.5 - 74,481 44.6 15 no ballots 166,891 VA
Wisconsin 5 86,110 56.6 5 65,021 42.7 - 887 0.6 - 161 0.1 - no ballots 152,179 WI
TOTALS: 303 1,865,908 39.8 180 1,004,823 21.5 12 669,148 14.3 72 590,901 12.6 39 554,250 11.8 0 4,685,030 US
TO WIN: 152

Trigger for the Civil War[edit]

The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was the immediate cause of southern resolutions of secession. He was the nominee of the Republican party with an anti-slavery expansion platform, he refused to acknowledge the right to secession, and he would not yield federal property within Southern states. Numerous historians have explored the reasons so many white Southerners adopted secessionism in 1860.[35] Bertram Wyatt-Brown argues that secessionists desired independence as necessary for their honor. They could no longer tolerate northern attitudes that regarded slave ownership is a great sin and Northern politicians who insisted on stopping the spread of slavery.[36][37] Avery Craven argues that secessionists believed Lincoln's election meant long-term doom for their peculiar social system. These terms placed issues beyond the democratic process, and they placed "the great masses of men, North and South, helpless before the drift into war."[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 4 of the electors pledged to Lincoln were elected since the Breckinridge and Bell electors finished behind all other candidates.[39]
  2. ^ The 3 Douglas electors were elected.[39]
  3. ^ The Fusion vote used here is the vote for the high elector on the slate, who was pledged to Douglas.[39]
  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.[39]
  5. ^ The slate of electors were pledged to 3 different candidates: 18 to Douglas, 10 to Bell, and 7 to Breckinridge.[39]
  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.[40]
  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.[40]
  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.[40]
  9. ^ The Douglas ticket in Rhode Island was supported by Breckinridge and Bell supporters.[40]


  1. ^ "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara. 
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ a b Freehling, William W., The Road to Disunion: Secessionists Triumphant, Vol.2. Oxford University, 2007, p. 321
  4. ^ Heidler, p. 157. Baltimore's Institute Hall, not be confused with Charleston's Institute Hall also used by the walk-out delegations.
  5. ^ "Republican National Platform, 1860". Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum. CPRR.org. 2003-04-13. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  6. ^ Rhodes (1920) 2:420
  7. ^ Rhodes (1920) 2:429
  8. ^ Baum, Dale (1984). The Civil War Party System: The Case of Massachusetts, 1848–1876. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. p. 49. ISBN 0807815888. 
  9. ^ "POLITICAL MOVEMENTS.; THE HOUSTON MASS MEETING. Large Gathering of the People in Union-Square--Washington statue Illuminated. The Hero of San Jacinto Nominated for the Presidency. Speeches, Address, Resolutions, Music, Fireworks, Guns, and Fun". The New York Times. May 30, 1860. 
  10. ^ "Letter from Sam Houston Withdrawing from the Canvass". The New York Times. September 3, 1860. 
  11. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=491740
  12. ^ http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/app/item/2003674583/
  13. ^ David T. Gleeson, The Irish in the South, 1815–1877 (University of North Carolina Press, 2001) p. 138
  14. ^ a b Maury Klein, Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War. pp. 27–28
  15. ^ a b Goodheart, Adam (2011). 1861: The Civil War Awakening. Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 41–43. ISBN 978-0-307-59666-6. 
  16. ^ "American President:Abraham Lincoln:Campaigns and Elections". Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  17. ^ Freehling, op.cit., p. 336
  18. ^ Benjamin P. Thomas, Abraham Lincoln, a biography (1952) p. 216; Luthin (1944); Nevins, (1950)
  19. ^ a b The 1876 election had a turnout of 81.8%, slightly higher than 1860. Between 1828-1928: "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections: 1828 - 2008". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  20. ^ a b Data between 1932 and 2008: "Table 397. Participation in Elections for President and U.S. Representatives: 1932 to 2010" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012. U.S. Census Bureau. 
  21. ^ http://www.uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/ Only Franklin Pierce had achieved a statistical majority in the popular vote (50.83 per cent).
  22. ^ 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 percent 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.
  23. ^ e.g. the 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia's article on the United States, vol, 15, p. 171
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ a b c "HarpWeek 1860 Election Overview". Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  28. ^ Freehling, William W., The Road to Disunion: Volume II. Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 447.
  29. ^ Vshadow: Lincoln's Election
  30. ^ "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.
  31. ^ "Republican ballot 1860". Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  32. ^ "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.
  33. ^ "1860 Election Returns in Virginia, by County" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  34. ^ St. Louis County, Missouri and Gasconade County, Missouri according to http://www.missouridivision-scv.org/election.htm
  35. ^ Mary A. Decredico, "Sectionalism and the Secession Crisis," in John b. Boles, ed., A Companion to the American South (2004) pp. 240
  36. ^ Decredico, p. 243
  37. ^ Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. Yankee Saints and Southern Sinners (1990)
  38. ^ Avery Craven, The Growth of Southern Nationalism, 1848-1861, 1953. ISBN 978-0-80-710006-6, p. 391, 394, 396..
  39. ^ 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
  40. ^ 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


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