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"Home Affairs"- 100 Gun Salute to Lincoln

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The Election of 1860 was a chaotic affair, one that reflected the chaos of the country. In May, 1860, the Democratic Party's convention in Charleston, South Carolina, dissolved into hostile factions, north and south. The split was made official at a second attempt at a convention in June in Baltimore. Each side ran their own candidate: the northern faction, Stephen A. Douglas, senator from Illinois; the southern, John C. Breckinridge, former vice president. Another political grouping, the Constitutional Union Party, gathered together those disaffected from the Democrats but reluctant to join the new, emerging Republicans. They nominated John Bell. Finally, after a long and rancorous convention the Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln, a man few knew but who consequently had alienated the least number of electors. <BR> In the election in November, Lincoln's name did not even appear on the ballots of the states south of Virginia or Kentucky. He ran in the north against his former opponent for the senate seat from Illinois, Stephen Douglas, while in the south the two Democrat candidates fought against Bell. In the end, Lincoln won a plurality (more votes but not a majority): 1.8 million to Douglas' 1.3 million, Breckinridge's 849,000 and Bell's 588,000. In the electoral vote, Lincoln won 180 of 293, a majority. Lincoln solidly carried Massachusetts' 13 Electoral College voters with more than 65% of the vote (106,533 votes), with heavy support from Western Massachusetts.


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