United States presidential election, 1860

The United States presidential election of 1860 was the 19th quadrennial presidential election. The election was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1860, and served as the immediate impetus for the outbreak of the American Civil War. The United States had been divided during the 1850s on questions surrounding the expansion of slavery and the rights of slave owners. In 1860, these issues broke the Democratic Party into Northern and Southern factions, and a new Constitutional Union Party appeared. In the face of a divided opposition, the Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a majority of the electoral votes, putting Abraham Lincoln in the White House with almost no support from the South.

Before Lincoln's inauguration, seven Southern states declared their secession and later formed the Confederacy. Secessionists from four additional Border states joined them when Lincoln's call to restore federal property in the South forced them to take sides, and two states, Kentucky and Missouri, attempted to remain neutral. At the 1864 election, the Union had admitted Kansas, West Virginia, and Nevada as free-soil states, while the Civil War disrupted the entire electoral process in the South, as no electoral votes were cast by any of the eleven states that had joined the Confederacy.

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