The Democratic Party met in April 1860, in Charleston, South Carolina. The convention body consisted of the northerners who supported popular sovereignty and southerners who wanted the Democratic Party to defend the rights to hold slaves. The convention refused the southern demand and the southern delegates walked out. The northern members went ahead and nominated Stephen Douglas. The southerners nominated vice president John Breckinridge to represent the party they now called the ‘National Democrats’
Republicans met in Chicago in May 1860 and choose Abraham Lincoln as their nominee. The Republican platform opposed slavery in the territories but upheld the right of slavery in the south. They also opposed the Dred-Scott decision. To gain the support of the former Whigs the Republicans came out in favor of Federal support for national improvements; including support for the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
A fourth political party was established by those who wanted to preserve slavery but also preserve the union. They were called the Constitutional Union party. They selected John Bell as their presidential nominee.
The Republicans were united behind Lincoln, while the other parties were divided by regions. The Republicans ran a very vigorous campaign. Their better organization won the day. Lincoln won a clear majority of the electoral vote. He gained 180 electoral votes, versus just 123 for all his opponents combined. His opponents, all together won a greater percentage of the overall vote, and Lincoln would govern after winning considerably less than half (just 39.9%) of the popular vote.
Source: 1860 Election Results A Four War Race
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