United States presidential election, 1860

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1860 Presidential election results

The 1860 election was hotly divided between North and South over the issue of slavery. The Republican party, hated in the South, nominated Abraham Lincoln. The south was divided in its choice for a candidate, deadlocking the Democratic National Convention by their insistence that the platform advocate allowing slavery in every territory. They also refused to accept Stephen A. Douglas, who had formerly said that a territory could prohibit slavery by refusing to pass legislation protecting it.[1] As a result, the Democratic party split: the Northern Democrats nominated Stephen A. Douglas and the Southern Democrats nominated Vice-President John C. Breckinridge. A few former Whigs, calling themselves the Constitutional Union Party, also nominated a Presidential candidate with the sole platform of preserving the Union. Lincoln was not even on the ballot in most Southern states. The results showed:

Candidate Party Popular vote Electoral vote
Abraham Lincoln Republican 1,865,593 180
John C. Breckinridge Democrat (Southern) 848,356 72
Stephen A. Douglas Democrat (Northern) 1,848,593 12
John Bell Constitutional Union 592,906 39


Shortly after the election, South Carolina seceded from the Union, starting the American Civil War.


  1. Official proceedings of the Democratic National Convention, 1860
  2. A Pictoral History of the U.S. Presidents, by Clare Gibson, Gramercy Books, 2001.