John C. Breckinridge and Abraham Lincoln were 2 of the top contenders in the Election of 1860. Breckinridge was very popular among the Southerners because he was from Kentucky, and like many others, valued slavery. Lincoln was a Northerner who was against slavery and wanted it gone, therefore, many of his votes were from Northerners who were against slavery as well. Even though Lincoln did not win the popular vote, he had over twice as many Electoral College ballots than Breckinridge. Making him the next president of the United States.
When Lincoln won the election, the southern states feared what he'd do about the issue regarding slavery. There were many debates on whether to secede from the Union or not. Even before Lincoln was sworn in as president, South Carolina decided to be the first to secede, and many followed.
The secession of these many southern states led to the formation of two groups, the Union and the Confederacy. These two groups clashed all the time and eventually the tension got so high it started a war we now know as The Civil War.