An Age of Compromise and Crises, 1820-60


Election ballots, 1860.

Five political parties put forward presidential candidates in the 1860 federal election. Even the national Democratic Party split along sectional lines in the wake of John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry. This split virtually insured the election of a Republican president, just six years after the party was founded to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The day after Lincoln was elected, South Carolina announced its intention to secede, and when he took the oath of office, seven states had seceded and the Confederacy had already been established, with a constitution that explicitly protected slavery.

MS Am 2605 - Bayard Livingston Kilgour and Kate Gray Kilgour fund, 2010.