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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

November 06, 1860

Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States

Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. Lincoln was a Republican, running on a platform that called for denying the extension of slavery into U.S. territories in the west, and in favor of a protective tariff (among other items).

Lincoln was elected without carrying any southern states. But he did carry all of the northern states (except Missouri) and the West. The Democratic Party had split into southern and northern factions, primarily over the issues of states’ rights and slavery. A fourth contestant - the Constitutional Union Party - was also involved. The northern faction of the Democratic Party ran Stephen Douglas (a famous previous opponent of Lincoln in the Illinois Senatorial race of 1858), with Georgian Herschel Johnson as his running mate.

The southern faction ran John Breckenridge, while the Constitutional Union party ran John Bell. These three effectively split the southern vote, leading to Lincoln’s victory in the election. Georgia’s electoral votes went to the southern Democratic faction, despite a native son on the other Democratic ticket. The Georgia Weekly Telegraph of Macon, in its November 8 issue, reported the victory of Lincoln, although returns were still not complete. Interestingly, in the returns that are reported, Lincoln is not mentioned at all - just the votes for Breckenridge, Douglas, and Bell. In another interesting note, the Macon Daily Telegraph, in its November 6 (day of the election) issue, listed the Georgia electors for the Breckenridge and Douglas tickets - one of which was Alexander Stephens, who would become the vice-president of the Confederacy.

Image of Macon Daily Telegraph
Digital Library of Georgia
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