The Election of 1860 []

It seems like just yesterday the events of the 150th anniversary of American Civil War events were taking place. Now it’s time to start the 160th anniversary of the same events. I am going to try and chronicle the daily events of the war. There were events taking place before Abraham Lincoln’s election as 16th POTUS of course that would help bring on the war- but a great place to start this is- the election of Lincoln.

In a four candidate race- Abraham Lincoln of Illinois -although he only won 39.8 % of the vote- easily won the 1860 Presidential Election-The Republican- Lincoln won 17 of the 33 states and 180 electoral votes, His Vice President will be Hannibal Hamlin- of Maine. Northern Democrat Stephen A. Douglas- an old rival of Lincoln’s in Illinois- was second in popular votes but only won two states- Missouri and New Jersey and 12 electoral votes. Southern Democrat John Breckinridge of Kentucky- who did extremely well in the South- came in with 72 electoral votes and Constitutional Unionist John Bell of Tennessee won Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia and 39 electoral votes. John Bell’s Vice Presidential candidate was Edward Everett of Massachusetts- my first Civil War related trivia question is-

What event during the Civil War- is Edward Everett most remembered for?

Interesting notes on the election- Lincoln who was extremely unpopular in the South- didn’t even appear on the ballot in 10 of the southern states.

Although there was no polling as we know it today back then- it was generally believed ahead of time that Lincoln would be the winner- and that all hell would break loose in the country if he won.

How did Lincoln spend his election day? He was in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois -seeing visitors and checking out reports by the internet of the day- the telegraph. At 10pm that night Pennsylvania went for Lincoln and Lincoln had the electoral votes he needed. The President elect then visited the Watson Saloon where a hundred female’s sang “Ain’t you glad to joined the Republicans? Joined the Republicans? Ain’t you glad you joined the Republicans down in Illinois?”

The rest of the election- the Republicans would be a minority party in the U.S. Senate- 29 to the opposition’s 37- in the House of Representatives- 108 Republicans to 129 in opposition.

There will be nearly four months before President-elect Lincoln takes the oath of office on Inauguration Day- set for March 4, 1861. President James Buchanan will still be in charge of the soon to be crumbling nation until then. Lincoln will be the next POTUS- but he would have no authority to do anything until March 4th.

See the source image

A short video summing up the Presidential Election of 1860.


    • Back in my history teaching days I always liked to bring this up-as an example how young our country is- the 10th POTUS John Tyler was born in 1790-not long after George became the first president. Tyler became POTUS in 1841. Until recently he had 2 living grandsons- one of them died just a month or so ago- but the other is still living. …160 years a blink of an eye as far as history goes.

    • I remember reading about that. It helps when you marry a woman 30 years your junior and you have a son (Lyon) that marries a woman 35 years younger. I think it was Oct. 7 that Lyon, Jr. passed. Harrison Ruffin is the last one. I would assume that, with 15 kids via two wives, there are plenty of great-grandchildren.

      And, to think that he was nearly blown away on the Peacemaker.

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