Election of 1860 & Secession


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  • Democratic Party Split
  • Republican Party
  • Issues concerning slavery led to major splits. The democratic party was in the worst shape having split into two sides: southerners for the endorsement of slavery and westerners for popular sovereignty. They finally nominated Stephen Douglas for president. Meanwhile the republican party was in support of Abraham Lincoln.
  • February 1860 Montgomery, Alabama
  • In November of 1860 Lincoln won the election with majority of electoral votes but only about ⅖ were of the fragmented popular vote. Lincoln was appealing because of his growing reputation for eloquence and firm but moderate position on slavery. Not for it but willing to work with the democrats.
  • Compromise efforts were taken with the proposal of the Crittenden Compromise which called for the Missouri Compromise Line to reestablish and extend westward to the Pacific. Southerners seemed willing to accept it but Republicans opposed because it would require them to allow for slavery to expand which is a key issue they were against. 
  • One of the first acts taken against the confederacy was at Fort Sumter. The south knew it would need stronger military holdings and defeated union troops which had been sent by Lincoln. Still,neither side wanted to accept that war had begun. 
  • Lincoln became the final signal to many white southerners that their position in the union was hopeless. They began preparing to succeed.  South Carolina responded to Lincoln’s election first, seceding from the Union on December 20, 1860. 
  • In early February, representatives of slave states which followed SC in seceding gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, to found a new nation, The Confederate States of America (also known as the Confederacy), and to name its president, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi.
  • When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, he gave a speech encouraging the South to return and promising that slavery would be protected where it already existed, but he refused to budge on his support of free soil ideas.
  • Both the election of 1860 and secession were impactful to the civil war because they were the last events that would form a new party and push for the confederacy to take action against the union. 
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