Lincoln won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846. As a congressman, Lincoln was unpopular with Illinois voters due to his strong stance against the U.S. war with Mexico. Lincoln did not seek re-election, so he returned to Springfield.
Election of 1860
On October 16, 1854, Lincoln went before a large crowd in Peoria to debate with Douglas on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, where he denounced slavery and saying the Act violated the Declaration of Independence.
Though Lincoln lost the Senate election against Douglas the following year, Lincoln's series of debates (7) with Douglas had made his reputation known nationally. Therefore, in May of 1860, Republicans chose Lincoln as their candidate for president.
Lincoln once more faced Douglas, along with Breckenridge and Bell. With Breckenridge and Bell splitting the vote in the South, Lincoln was able to win most of the North, carrying the Electoral College to win the election.
By the time Lincoln was inaugurated as 16th U.S. president in March 1861, seven southern states had seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America.
Lincoln order a fleet of Union ships to supply Fort Sumter in April, the Confederates fired on the fort and the fleet, beginning the Civil War. With the significant defeat in the Battle of Bull Run, and Lincoln called for 500,000 more troops as both sides prepared for a long conflict.