The election of 1860 revealed just how divided America was. On
November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election by collecting
only 39 percent of the popular vote. He carried every Northern State except
for New Jersey and none of the border or Southern States. Lincoln was the
first president to be elected by a purely sectional party.
The Democratic party vote was split by two candidates... John
Breckenridge and Stephen Douglas. If their votes were totaled, they would
exceed Lincolnís vote by 350,000.
To Southerners, the future was particularly alarming. A man
had been elected President who was not even on the ballot in their part of the
country. The north simply outvoted them.
Senator Jefferson Davis stated, "If one section of the union
gain such a predominance that it could override the Constitution and legislate
for the other sections, the subjugated population would be placed in a
colonial position and would merely show the spirit of their sires if they
struck down this tyranny by revolution."