[39] Thus, except for running mate Everett's home state of Massachusetts, and California, Bell received even less support in the free states than did Breckinridge, and consequently came in last in the national popular vote, at 12.62%. Flag banner promoting Abraham Lincoln for the presidency in 1860. It excludes South Carolina from the calculation, because in 1860 it chose presidential electors in the state legislature, without a popular vote. William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase and Abraham Lincoln of Illinois are the leading contenders from a field of 12 candidates. Baltimore's Institute Hall, not be confused with Charleston's Institute Hall also used by the walk-out delegations. RepublicanAbraham Lincoln captured less than 40 percent of the vote but won a majority in the electoral college (180 electoral votes) by dominating in the North and the Pacific Coast to become president. Who did Abe Lincoln run against in 1860? Breckinridge also did little campaigning, giving only one speech. In ten southern slave states, no citizen would publicly pledge to vote for Abraham Lincoln, so citizens there had no legal means to vote for the Republican nominee. The name of its presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln, an ardent opponent of slavery, would not… However, the "conditional Unionists" also hoped that when faced with secession, Northerners would stifle anti-slavery rhetoric and accept pro-slavery rules for the territories. Outside his regional section, Douglas took 15 to 17% 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. The incumbent president, James Buchanan, like his predecessor, Franklin Pierce, was a Northern Democrat with sympathies for the South. Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". Lincoln was outraged at the passage of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. Following on the heels of the Dred Scott decision of 1857, in which the U.S. Supreme Court voided the Missouri Compromise (1820), thus making slavery legal in all U.S. territories, the election of 1860 was sure to further expose sectional differences between those, especially (but not solely) in the North, who wanted to abolish slavery and those who sought to protect the institution. Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge garnered 18 percent of the vote and 72 electoral votes, winning most Southern states plus Delaware and Maryland. The results in the South are instructive in understanding the deep sectional divide. Yet it alienated Douglas with southerners he would need in 1860 when he ran for president against Lincoln. The slate of electors were pledged to 3 different candidates: 18 to Douglas, 10 to Bell, and 7 to Breckinridge. Douglas said he believed a new state could prohibit enslavement. [citation needed] The election would now pit Lincoln against his longtime political rival, whom Lincoln had lost to in the Illinois senate race just two years earlier. Omissions? However, the divisions of the Republicans' opponents were not in themselves decisive in ensuring the Republican capture of the White House, as Lincoln received absolute majorities in states that combined for a majority of the electoral votes. The Democratic Party chose its slate of electors before the National Convention in Charleston, SC. Bell and Douglas both tried to tack towards a moderate position. U.S. presidential election of 1860, American election in which Republican Abraham Lincoln defeated Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell. Breckinridge convincingly carried only three of the six states of the Deep South (South Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi). Sen. Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, the champion of popular sovereignty policy, was the Northern Democrats’ candidate, and Vice Pres. Douglas was the only candidate who won electoral votes in both slave and free states (free New Jersey and slave Missouri). Within the fifteen slave states, Lincoln won only two counties out of 996, Missouri's St. Louis and Gasconade Counties. Virginia convened a secession convention, which voted against secession but remained in session. They could no longer tolerate Northern state attitudes that regarded slave ownership as a great sin and Northern politicians who insisted on stopping the spread of slavery.[47][48][49]. “The Undecided Political Prize Fight,” a lithograph depicting the presidential campaign of 1860 and featuring Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. Several other states also considered declaring secession at the time: All of the secessionist activity was motivated by fear for the institution of slavery in the South. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. By the standards of their time, both Breckinridge and Lincoln ran on fairly radical platforms, seeking to either promote or contain slavery. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In the "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 and Douglas) vote approached a majority. "[6], The party platform[7] promised not to interfere with slavery in the states, but opposed slavery in the territories. The party’s platform particularly appealed to border states in its attempt to ignore the slavery issue and focus instead on fealty to the U.S. Constitution: Resolved, that it is both the part of patriotism and of duty to recognize no political principles other than the Constitution of the country, the Union of the states, and the enforcement of the laws; and that, as representatives of the Constitutional Union men of the country in national convention assembled, we hereby pledge ourselves to maintain, protect, and defend, separately and unitedly, these great principles of public liberty and national safety against all enemies, at home and abroad, believing that thereby peace may once more be restored to the country, the rights of the people and of the states reestablished, and the government again placed in that condition of justice, fraternity, and equality which, under the example and Constitution of our fathers, has solemnly bound every citizen of the United States to maintain a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. 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