Did the immigrant vote help start the Civil War?

major bill

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Was Lincoln elected because immigrants for him? Not every immigrant voted for Republicans in the 1860 election, did Lincoln carry enough of the immigrant vote to win the election? It has often been stated that many immigrants supported free labor, but I have to wonder if this translated to votes.

Dietrich Gerstein a farmer from rural Michigan who had been born in Westphalia seen it this way.

"The North...can stand on its own... since the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants are Republicans. Of course then it would be necessary to drive out the northern Democrats and send them south, and then I would also be rid of my dear neighbors. the Old Lutherans...Isn't it curious to see all the pious people voting for slavery? Of course they prove from the Bible that slavery is a divine institution, but even the Catholics who want nothing to do with the Bible are wild for slavery, especially that dumbest and most beastly of all nations, the Irish."

Gerstein seems to believe that Lutherans and Catholics supported either the Democrats or at least supported slavery. So did these immigrants vote Republican or Democrats in 1860?
 

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Pat Young

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Was Lincoln elected because immigrants for him? Not every immigrant voted for Republicans in the 1860 election, did Lincoln carry enough of the immigrant vote to win the election? It has often been stated that many immigrants supported free labor, but I have to wonder if this translated to votes.

Dietrich Gerstein a farmer from rural Michigan who had been born in Westphalia seen it this way.

"The North...can stand on its own... since the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants are Republicans. Of course then it would be necessary to drive out the northern Democrats and send them south, and then I would also be rid of my dear neighbors. the Old Lutherans...Isn't it curious to see all the pious people voting for slavery? Of course they prove from the Bible that slavery is a divine institution, but even the Catholics who want nothing to do with the Bible are wild for slavery, especially that dumbest and most beastly of all nations, the Irish."

Gerstein seems to believe that Lutherans and Catholics supported either the Democrats or at least supported slavery. So did these immigrants vote Republican or Democrats in 1860?
Most of the historians I have read on this say that the Germans were pretty split in the vote and the Irish went 70% Democrat.
 

major bill

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Some Irish immigrant areas in the North did not seem to overly support the War.
 

WJC

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First, this seems to assume that Lincoln's election was the cause of secession and the rebellion, overlooking the deepening crisis well before the election.
Second, we ought not forget the immigrants in the south, though fewer in number than those in the northern states. Any study of immigrant voting ought to include John Bell, who had wide support among Know Nothings. But, of course, Lincoln was not on the ballot there.
As to the northern states, there can be no doubt that actions by the 1860 Chicago Convention demonstrated that the Republican Party welcomed the immigrant vote. Planks condemning attempts by some states to withhold the full rights of citizenship to new arrivals, making immigrants eligible for homesteads and repudiating the principle Know Nothings had an effect. Further, Carl Shurz was put in charge of efforts to recruit immigrants into the Party.
On the other hand, studies by Joseph Shafer, Hildegard B. Johnson and others show that the majority of German Catholic and Irish Catholics voted Democrat. These refute earlier work by William E. Dodd who claimed that the immigrant vote was crucial in Lincoln's election.
 

Pat Young

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Second, we ought not forget the immigrants in the south, though fewer in number than those in the northern states. Any study of immigrant voting ought to include John Bell, who had wide support among Know Nothings.
18 out of every 20 immigrants lived in the North, one lived in the Border States, and one lived in what would become the Confederacy. The immigrant vote was negligible in the South except in Louisiana. On the other hand, it played a large role in Missouri.
 

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18 out of every 20 immigrants lived in the North, one lived in the Border States, and one lived in what would become the Confederacy. The immigrant vote was negligible in the South except in Louisiana. On the other hand, it played a large role in Missouri.
And, as I said, except for Virginia, Lincoln wasn't on the ballot in the southern states. So if the context is that immigrants were a significant factor in electing Lincoln, immigrants in the south played no part.
Even though there was significant immigrant turnout in Missouri, Douglas- not Lincoln- won the state.
 

Mark Roth

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First, this seems to assume that Lincoln's election was the cause of secession and the rebellion, overlooking the deepening crisis well before the election.
Lincoln's election DID cause secession and war, because the treasonous cabal in the South started seceding and warring in fear of Lincoln possibly ending slavery.

At any rate, I have never seen any evidence linking a significant immigrant vote skewing results towards Lincoln. The liberal and anti-slavery platforms of the Republicans attracted a broad cross-section of the Northern public. Enough that a Republican presidency with a largely or majority Republican congress was inevitable. Lincoln got through a divided and crowded field; possibly accelerating the process.
 


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