Lincoln's Election

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by DisHelenKim
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Social Studies
Politicians and Presidents

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Lincoln's Election

Lincoln's Election

Helen Kim & Eric Lee (G10)

Date: November 6, 1860

Abraham Lincoln

Stepehn A. Douglas

John Bell

John C. Breckinridge


Lincoln won the presidential election of 1860 but received less than half the popular vote. Nonetheless, his victory was achieved because of the number of electoral votes. He defeated all of his opponents by 180 to 123, without any electoral votes from the South. After Lincoln won the election, the Southerners were discouraged because they thought that they had lost their political voice in the national government. Furthermore, the Southern states wanted complete independence from federal government control. To preserve slavery, Southerners saw secession as the only solution. As a result, South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860. Within a few weeks, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas had also seceded. Also, on February 4, 1861, delegates from secessionist states met in Montgomery, Alabama and formed the Confederacy (Confederate States of America), the organization that allowed slavery in new territories. The gap between the North and the South was growing larger and larger, and a month after Lincoln’s inauguration, the Civil War began on the 12th of April, 1861.



The senatorial competition between Douglas and Lincoln became a huge issue in 1858. While Douglas firmly believed that popular sovereignty would allow slavery to slowly disappear on its own, Lincoln believed in the necessity of legislations banning it in the territories to stop slavery from spreading even farther. The match between the two-term senator and a Republic challenger brought up huge national attention. The big issue between Douglas and Lincoln made some republicans think of Lincoln as an excellent candidate for upcoming presidency. Although Douglas won the Senate seat, his response had worsened the division between the Northern and Southern sides of the Democratic Party. In the process of attempting to nominate candidates for the presidential election, the disintegration of the Democratic Party was accelerating. As a result, there were three candidates from different factions: Stephen A. Douglas, who was supported by the Northern Democrats, John Bell from those who used to be the Whig party, and John. C. Breckinridge from the Deep South Democrats.


“I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it…or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.”

Since the Southerners knew that Lincoln’s election would not only give power to the North, but also deteriorate the political power of the South, the South kept on resisting against the Union in various ways, including seceding from the Union in order to maintain their slavery system. The tension between the South and the North continuously increased, and by the time of Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, 1861, only two Southern forts remained in the control of the Union. At this point, both sides knew the war was coming and expected a glorious war that would prove which side was right. Even if Lincoln had lost the election, the Civil War would have still happened because each candidate was supported by different factions of the United States, and the election of any candidate would grant relatively more political voices to the group that supported the president. Consequently, specific groups of the United States would have gained power while other groups slowly weakened. Conflicting groups would continue being in a negative relationship, and the opposing views of different regions would have eventually caused the Civil War.



"The Election of 1860." Independence Hall Association, 2008. Web. 5 May Staff. "Abraham Lincoln Elected President." A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 5 May 2015.Walsh, Kenneth T. "The Most Consequential Elections in History: Abraham Lincoln and the Election of 1860." US News. U.S.News & World Report, 23 July 2008. Web. 06 May 2015.


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