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Presidential Campaigns

E Band
Presidential Campaigns
Then presidential elections of the years past have had a major impact on the world existing today. In my report I researched the election of 1860. Abraham Lincoln’s victory in this election enabled Black People to be free in our society today.
There were four major candidates in this election. The choice for the Republican Party was Abraham Lincoln. He was an excellent speaker who gained recognition during the Lincoln- Douglas debates. In his first major political appearance he won the support of many Americans through his powerful and famous speech at Cooper Union in New York City. In his speech, Lincoln deplored slavery and condemned violence. Lincoln won the nomination for his party because he was the only one acceptable to all of the different factions that existed in the Republican Party.
There also was a division within the Democratic Party. The popular choice for the Northern Democrats was Stephen Douglas. He was a spokesman for policy of National Expansion. His views supported family farming and free labor, which was a very significant issue at the time. The Southern Delegates nominated John Breckinridge of Kentucky who was also the Vice President of the United States. He advocated plantation economy and also supported slavery. Breckinridge caused the Southern Democratic delegates to form a Constitutional Union party because they did not agree with his politics. Therefore, they nominated a fourth candidate whose only cause was to preserve the union and attempted to rally the former Whigs. His name was John Bell of Tennessee. Bell wished to preserve the constitution (thus the constitutional union party).

Many different tactics were used by the candidates to gain votes. From time to time in United States history, presidential nominees of the major parties engage in debates. Some of the most famous debates in American political history, were those between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in 1858. At times, specific issues and slogans dominate presidential campaigns, such as morality of slavery and economic issues did during the 1860 elections. Both Lincoln and Douglas were excellent speakers and their debates helped display a side of the nominees that you did not think was there. For instance, you would not have thought that Douglas would be a powerful speaker. Lincoln seemed to be the quite type, but when he did speak his words were more powerful than his silence. These debates created a National reputation for Lincoln that propelled him toward the presidential nomination. During his acceptance speech for the Republican senatorial nomination in June 1858, Lincoln expressed the view that the nation would become either all slave or all free: A house divided cannot stand!. Not only did it denounce a divided society, but it also acquired the attention of the population. People became interested in the opinions of the candidates and withstood all types inclement weather just to hear them speak. The debates also informed the American people where each candidate stood on the issues of that time.

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Abraham Lincoln won the election with only forty- percent of the popular vote. He received one hundred and eighty electoral votes, a majority. Breckinridge followed with the entire Deep South on his side, with seventy-two votes. Bell received thirty-nine and Douglas twelve. It is interesting to note that not one of Lincoln’s electoral votes was won in a Southern state. This did not entirely represent the will of the majority, being that Lincoln did not win by a landslide. However, in this election we see four serious party challengers where a candidate has been elected president by less than a majority of the popular vote. We see this happen again when Woodrow Wilson won the election in 1912, when Harry S. Truman won the election in 1948, and with the incumbent Bill Clinton’s recent victories in 1992 and 1996.
In my opinion, the best man won. Knowing the outcome of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, I can definitely say that he benefited the country, up until this very day. He truly saved the country from drowning in a sea of slavery. If I were a voter living in the 1860’s, I might have a different perspective. Depending on my social status, I might not have voted for him. My view


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