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Who, What, When, Where:

The Election of 1860 was the most important and divisive presidential election in American history. This historical event would bring the North and South in a state of divorce over the critical question of slavery and the spreading of slave states. Like most elections today, the Election of 1860 split the people of America into many differing political groups or factions. The Northern Democrats led by Stephen A. Douglas of the Kansas-Nebraska Act believed that the people and not the overpowering authority of the federal government should decide whether their territory would tolerate slavery. In opposition to this political movement, were the Southern Democrats led by John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, who believed that this institution, like a rapid disease was allowed to spread over the vast land. The Moderates in this controversy was the Constitutional Union led by John Bell of Tennessee, who believed the issue of slavery could be solved by compromise. Yet, the most important party in this campaign were the Northern Republicans for it fielded the candidate Abraham Lincoln, who opposed the expansion of slavery and was a nominee in the Election of 1860.


Abraham Lincoln had become the symbol of the frontier, hard the self- made man and the American dream. His debates with Douglas made him a national figure. For his many accomplishments and talents, Lincoln won the Election of 1860 without a single vote from the South, yet victorious and popular in the North. The news of Lincoln's presidential win came as a crisis and dismay to the South, for they believed that only Northern delegates were running their government, and slavery and the spread of slave states would surely die out. /starting with South Carolina, one by one Southern states began to secede or break away from the Union. This dilemma of secession and sectionalism would set the stage for a civil war and the creation of a new state.




North's take on it:

They were happy that a president who didn't favor expanding slavery into the territories was elected. Also that Lincoln wanted to keep the nation together and that a section couldn't just up and leave; he thought it was unconstitutional. They knew he was a great debator from the Lincoln - Douglas debates and so they knew his position on contemporary issues they were dealing with.



South's take on it:

The South feared Lincoln getting elected. They were afraid of the end of Southern Power in our government. Before, slavery had almost been protected. Even the Founding Fathers didn't dare issue any constrictions on it. So when Lincoln was elected, a man who didn't want slavery expanding into the territories, many were outraged. Seven states seceded in the near aftermath of Lincoln's election. Many felt war was inevitable because they knew that Lincoln would fight back. If a southerner was elected president, they could make laws to help the South, but with Lincoln as president, they felt like their voice would no longer be heard.




Significance:



The Election of 1860 was by far the most significant election in our nation's history and on a scale of 1 - 5, 5 being highly important, we rank it a 5. Once a northern, antislavery president was elected, Southern Power in the United States Government went out the window. Seven states seceded from our nation due to the fact that Lincoln was elected, and four more followed suit soon thereafter. Lincoln's name wasn't even listed on southern ballots - the South was already acting as an independent country. Lincoln felt that our Union should be preserved at all costs, and was not afraid to fight a war to make sure that it stayed that way - a union. By him being elected, Americans' greatest fears were confirmed - Civil War had become inevitable.




A video summarizing the events leading up to the Election of 1860.↑


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Political Cartoon depicting flaws in each of the four candidates in the election of 1860. ↑ ↑Lincoln stopping other candidates from entering White House

A map showing the immense sectionalism between the north and south. ↓


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Works Cited: http://www.tulane.edu/~latner/Background/BackgroundElection.html http://www.wvculture.org/History/statehood/statehood02.html http://www.ushistory.org/us/32d.asp http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1860#Results_by_state


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