The Election of 1860
William Seward was the front runner when the Republicans met in Chicago in May of 1860, but Lincoln quickly pulled ahead and won the nomination on the third ballot. The Republican platform opposed slavery in the territories but upheld the right of slavery in the South. It also opposed the Dredd-Scott decision. The Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas and the Southern-Democrats who called themselves National Democrats nominated John Breckinridge. In addition, John Bell was nominated by the Constitutional Union party.
The Republicans were united behind Lincoln, while the opposition was divided by regions. Most of the campaign was implemented by the party organizations, with the candidates taking a very small active part. Stephen Douglas became the first presidential candidate in history to undertake a nationwide speaking tour. He traveled to the South where he did not expect to win many electoral votes, but he spoke for the maintenance of the Union. The contest was in effect two contests between Douglas and Lincoln in the North and West and between Brekinridge and Bell in the south. The Republicans ran a very vigorous campaign and then better organization won the day.
Charleston, South Carolina: April 23 to May 3, 1860
Baltimore Maryland: June 18 to 23, 1860
Nominated: Stephen Douglas of Illinios for President
Nominated: Benjamin Fitzpatrick of Alabama for Vice President
The Democratic party that met in Charleston in 1860 was deeply divided. Stephen Douglas was the clear favorite of Northen Democrats, while Southerners demanded that the Democratic party come out with a platform in clear defense of slavery. Douglas and his supporters could not agree. Many Southern delegates then walked out. The convention then went through 54 ballots but Douglas failed to acheive the needed 2/3 of the votes. The convention adjourned and planned to reconvene in June in Baltimore. When the party reconvened the fight continued, this time over recognition of the delegations. With some of the delegations walking out once again, Douglas could not acheive the required 2/3 of the votes. Finally, the convention voted to to state that now that Douglas had received 2/3 of the votes present he was the nominee.
Chicago, IL: May 16 to 18, 1860
Nominated: Abraham Lincoln of Ill for President
Nominated: Hannibal Hamlin of New Jersey for Vice President
Abraham Lincoln was nominated on the third ballot. He defeated Senator Seward of New York. Seward was considered by many to be to radical. The Republican issued a platform that criticized slavery, while making it clear that they would not intervene with slavery in the South. The Republicans also promised to support the building of a transcontinental railroad.