This being the 211th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, I thought it would be interesting to post about how he was elected president in 1860.
In the US Map of the Electoral Votes in 1860 (below) the four candidates for President were:
- Abraham Lincoln – Republican
- John C. Breckinridge – Democratic
- John Bell – Constitutional Union
- Stephen A. Douglas – Democratic
Lincoln won the election with a total of 180 electoral votes and a popular vote of 1,866,452. Breckinridge was second with 72 EC and 847,953 popular, Bell was third with 39 EC and 592,906 popular. Last but not least (look at the popular vote) was Steven Douglas with 12 EV and 1,382,713 popular. It’s interesting that Douglas and Breckinridge were both Democrats but even if their Electoral votes were to be combined they still would not have defeated Lincoln. Their combined poplar votes, however were over 364 thousand greater than Lincoln’s.
Note how the demographics and population shift have switched this old map around over the last 160 years. If only Kalifornistan were a red state today with their current 55 Electoral Votes.
Map Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ElectoralCollege1860.svg. Click on the image to enlarge.
The United States presidential election of 1860 set the stage for the American Civil War. The nation had been divided throughout most of the 1850s on questions of states’ rights and slavery in the territories. In 1860, this issue finally came to a head, fracturing the formerly dominant Democratic Party into Southern and Northern factions and bringing Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party to power without the support of a single Southern state.
Hardly more than a month following Lincoln’s victory came declarations of secession by South Carolina and other states, which were rejected as illegal by the then-current President, James Buchanan and President-elect Abraham Lincoln.