Trying to figure out the differences between the 1860 presidential candidates

leftyhunter

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Has we know 60% of the 1860 voters voted against Lincoln but could not unite under one candidate. Of course due to the electoral college Lincoln may of won anyway but ruling a divided country is difficult at best. In order to understand why there was a 4 man race I was thinking to try to imagine what the US would of looked like under each of the other 3 candidates to understand why the electorate was so divided.
Feel free to correct my assumptions.
1. John Bell would of tried to avoid a civil war at all costs ( in that he had something in common with Douglas and Lincoln) Bell however would of allowed some new states to be slave states but not all. Bell would of been for low tariffs and restricted immigration.
2. Douglas would have been similar to Bell but more open on immigration.
3. Breckendridge would of been gung ho on adding more slave states and maybe would tried to use military force on Spain to gain Cuba and Puerto Rico and Central American countries. After all president Bucanan did offer Spain millions of dollars for Cuba and was rejected the Spanish King saying he would rather see Cuba sink in the ocean then sell it to the US in hindsight a real bad move. How many plantations could of been set up in the dry west? No the future of American slavery lay in the wet tropics. Again feel free to critique.
Leftyhunter
 

brass napoleon

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The key issue in the election of 1860 was the expansion of slavery into the territories, and that's where we see the key difference:

  • Breckenridge - there should be no restriction of slavery in ANY of the territories
  • Douglas - the concept of popular sovereignty should determine where slavery is allowed in the territories
  • Lincoln - slavery should not be allowed in ANY of the territories
  • Bell - what's for dinner?
(OK, couldn't resist with that last one. Bell and the Constitutional Unionists were all about holding the Union together by avoiding the contentious issues of the day.)
 
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Pat Young

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We often look at the the three losers as a "divided opposition" to Lincoln, but I think that we should look at Bell as a spoiler for Lincoln. Bell did not take votes away from Douglas in the North and Border States, he took them away from Lincoln. His base voters were those who had voted Whig and Know Nothing parties in the 1850s, the same sort of voter who, along with Free Soil former Democrats, formed the base of the Republican Party. Lincoln's vote totals outside the South would have been increased if Bell had not run.
 

KeyserSoze

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Anyone else notice that one issue missing from both the Northern or Southern Democratic Party Platforms is any mention of tariffs? Yet we are to believe that this was such a major bone of contention that the South was willing to secede over it. Remember, by the time these platforms had been written the Morrill Tariff had been defeated once in the Senate. It's not like the Democrats didn't know Republican intentions.
 
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Pat Young

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Anyone else notice that one issue missing from both the Northern or Southern Democratic Party Platforms is any mention of tariffs? Yet we are to believe that this was such a major bone of contention that the South was willing to secede over it.
Every plank in the Southern Democrat platform is about slavery except for one endorsing a transcontinental railroad and one endorsing equal citizenship for naturalized immigrants.
 

KeyserSoze

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Every plank in the Southern Democrat platform is about slavery except for one endorsing a transcontinental railroad and one endorsing equal citizenship for naturalized immigrants.

Yup. And I suspect that the only acceptable route for the transcontinental railroad would have been Jeff Davis's southern route through Arizona and New Mexico to Los Angeles.
 

KeyserSoze

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Every plank in the Southern Democrat platform is about slavery except for one endorsing a transcontinental railroad and one endorsing equal citizenship for naturalized immigrants.

And you have to wonder how much of the equal citizenship for immigrants plank was due less to concern for immigrants and more as a slap towards the Know Nothing section of the Republican Party?
 

NedBaldwin

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Has we know 60% of the 1860 voters voted against Lincoln

I find that an odd way of describing it. Some people vote for someone else and not simply against the other person.
Or, by your measure, a larger % voted against each of the other candidates than against Lincoln.
 

leftyhunter

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I find that an odd way of describing it. Some people vote for someone else and not simply against the other person.
Or, by your measure, a larger % voted against each of the other candidates than against Lincoln.
That is not the message I wished to convey. I was just pointing out that by a margin of 3 to 2 the American voter ( of course that means only white males to our newer members) favored other candidates over Lincoln. I was trying to determine by the knowledge of the forum members what the differences where between each respective candidate.
I have argued in another thread"when was the CSA doomed to defeat" or words to that effect that the CSA lost when the slave owners could not get a puppet like Buchanan elected. Therefore how and why the election of 1860 turned out the way it did is an important question IMO.
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leftyhunter

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The CU platform forgot to mention that they love mom and apple pie and will brush their teeth after dinner and take a bath every Saturday night if they need it or not. Other then that what is there not to love? One could argue that Bell was running a feel good campaign but maybe that is just being cynical. per the CU platform folks in the US have to stop being cross why it does not say apparently slavery is not an issue worth mentioning folks just need to be happy.
Leftyhunter
 

Mike Griffith

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Essentially, the 1860 presidential candidates can be categorized as follows:

Lincoln was the one candidate who favored markedly higher taxes, a bigger and more powerful federal government, a marked increase in federal public works programs ("internal improvements"), curbing states rights if they conflicted with expanding federal power, and a loose reading of the Constitution.

Breckinridge, Douglas, and Bell were much more conservative. All three condemned the Morrill Tariff, generally opposed federal internal improvements (Douglas was favorable to some of them), favored limited government and states rights, and believed in a conservative reading of the Constitution.

In short, Lincoln was the liberal and Breckinridge, Douglas, and Bell were the conservatives. Lincoln won with only 39.9% of the vote (some say 39.8%). He would have won even if the conservative vote had been combined, because the country's population was disproportionately concentrated in the Northern states.
 
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Drew

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Anyone else notice that one issue missing from both the Northern or Southern Democratic Party Platforms is any mention of tariffs? Yet we are to believe that this was such a major bone of contention that the South was willing to secede over it. Remember, by the time these platforms had been written the Morrill Tariff had been defeated once in the Senate. It's not like the Democrats didn't know Republican intentions.

Actually, there was a good deal of horse trading over tariffs, particularly with respect to the protection of the iron industry, very important to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Not out in the open on a "platform," but dealt with in the proverbial, political "backrooms."
 

brass napoleon

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Essentially, the 1860 presidential candidates can be categorized as follows:

Lincoln was the one candidate who favored markedly higher taxes, a bigger and more powerful federal government, a marked increase in federal public works programs ("internal improvements"), curbing states rights if the conflicted with expanding federal power, and a loose reading of the Constitution....

Sorry, Mike, but I have to point out that this is incorrect, once again. Let's take a look at the 1860 Republican Party platform. You will note that several of its planks (which I've highlighted in black) flatly contradict what you have said above. And you'll also notice that the plurality of its planks (which I've highlighted in blue) address a subject that you conveniently forgot to mention above:

Resolved, That we, the delegated representatives of the Republican electors of the United States in Convention assembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents and our country, unite in the following declarations:

1. That the history of the nation during the last four years, has fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and perpetuation of the Republican party, and that the causes which called it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever before, demand its peaceful and constitutional triumph.

2. That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution, "That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," is essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the Rights of the States, and the Union of the States must and shall be preserved.

3. That to the Union of the States this nation owes its unprecedented increase in population, its surprising development of material resources, its rapid augmentation of wealth, its happiness at home and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for disunion, come from whatever source they may. And we congratulate the country that no Republican member of Congress has uttered or countenanced the threats of disunion so often made by Democratic members, without rebuke and with applause from their political associates; and we denounce those threats of disunion, in case of a popular overthrow of their ascendency as denying the vital principles of a free government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant people sternly to rebuke and forever silence.

4. That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the states, and especially the right of each state to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any state or territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

5. That the present Democratic Administration has far exceeded our worst apprehensions, in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of a sectional interest, as especially evinced in its desperate exertions to force the infamous Lecompton Constitution upon the protesting people of Kansas; in construing the personal relations between master and servant to involve an unqualified property in persons; in its attempted enforcement everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention of Congress and of the Federal Courts of the extreme pretensions of a purely local interest; and in its general and unvarying abuse of the power intrusted to it by a confiding people.

6. That the people justly view with alarm the reckless extravagance which pervades every department of the Federal Government; that a return to rigid economy and accountability is indispensable to arrest the systematic plunder of the public treasury by favored partisans; while the recent startling developments of frauds and corruptions at the Federal metropolis, show that an entire change of administration is imperatively demanded.

7. That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery into any or all of the territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.

8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom: That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that "no persons should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law," it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.

9. That we brand the recent reopening of the African slave trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic

10. That in the recent vetoes, by their Federal Governors, of the acts of the legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting slavery in those territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic principle of Non-Intervention and Popular Sovereignty, embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.

11. That Kansas should, of right, be immediately admitted as a state under the Constitution recently formed and adopted by her people, and accepted by the House of Representatives.

12. That, while providing revenue for the support of the general government by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imports as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country; and we commend that policy of national exchanges, which secures to the workingmen liberal wages, to agriculture remunerative prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate reward for their skill, labor, and enterprise, and to the nation commercial prosperity and independence.

13. That we protest against any sale or alienation to others of the public lands held by actual settlers, and against any view of the free-homestead policy which regards the settlers as paupers or suppliants for public bounty; and we demand the passage by Congress of the complete and satisfactory homestead measure which has already passed the House.

14. That the Republican party is opposed to any change in our naturalization laws or any state legislation by which the rights of citizens hitherto accorded to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.

15. That appropriations by Congress for river and harbor improvements of a national character, required for the accommodation and security of an existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligation of Government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.

16. That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country; that the federal government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction; and that, as preliminary thereto, a daily overland mail should be promptly established.

17. Finally, having thus set forth our distinctive principles and views, we invite the co-operation of all citizens, however differing on other questions, who substantially agree with us in their affirmance and support.


Source: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=29620
 

Eric Calistri

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Essentially, the 1860 presidential candidates can be categorized as follows:

Lincoln was the one candidate who favored markedly higher taxes, a bigger and more powerful federal government, a marked increase in federal public works programs ("internal improvements"), curbing states rights if the conflicted with expanding federal power, and a loose reading of the Constitution.

Breckinridge, Douglas, and Bell were much more conservative. All three condemned the Morrill Tariff, generally opposed federal internal improvements (Douglas was favorable to some of them), favored limited government and states rights, and believed in a conservative reading of the Constitution.

In short, Lincoln was the liberal and Breckinridge, Douglas, and Bell were the conservatives. Lincoln won with only 39.9% of the vote (some say 39.8%). He would have won even if the conservative vote had been combined, because the country's population was disproportionately concentrated in the Northern states.


And not one of them mentioned slavery? Not even once? What is your motivation for ignoring the issue?


Document: Democratic Platform of 1860 (Breckinridge Faction)

June, 1860 Richmond, Virginia

Resolved, that the platform adopted by the Democratic Party at Cincinnati be affirmed, with the following explanatory resolutions:

1. That the Government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress is provisional and temporary, and during its existence all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by Congressional or Territorial legislation.

2. That it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends.

3. That when the settlers in a Territory, having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the right of sovereignty commences, and being consummated by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other States, and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of slavery.

Resolved, That the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of the Island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain, at the earliest practicable moment.

Resolved, That the enactments of State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

Resolved, That the Democracy of the United States recognize it as the imperative duty of this Government to protect the naturalized citizen in all his rights, whether at home or in foreign lands, to the same extent as its native-born citizens.

Whereas, one of the greatest necessities of the age, in a political, commercial, postal and military point of view, is speedy communication between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Therefore be it

Resolved, that the National Democratic party do hereby pledge themselves to use every means in their power to secure the passage of some bill, to the extent of the constitutional authority of Congress, for the construction of a Pacific Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, at the earliest practicable moment.




Source: National Party Platforms: Volume I 1840-1956, compiled by Donald Bruce Johnson, University of Illinois Press, p. 31



So nothing about the Morrill Tariff, explicitly Denies State Rights(in regards to the Federal Fugitive Slave Law) and favors internal Improvements (Pacific Railroad). Rather than ignoring slavery, it is repeatedly spoken of.

So that's a hefty .000 batting average.
 
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brass napoleon

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And not one of them mentioned slavery? Not even once? What is your motivation for ignoring the issue?
Document: Democratic Platform of 1860 (Breckinridge Faction)

June, 1860 Richmond, Virginia

Resolved, that the platform adopted by the Democratic Party at Cincinnati be affirmed, with the following explanatory resolutions:

1. That the Government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress is provisional and temporary, and during its existence all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by Congressional or Territorial legislation.

2. That it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends.

3. That when the settlers in a Territory, having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the right of sovereignty commences, and being consummated by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other States, and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of slavery.

Resolved, That the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of the Island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain, at the earliest practicable moment.

Resolved, That the enactments of State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

Resolved, That the Democracy of the United States recognize it as the imperative duty of this Government to protect the naturalized citizen in all his rights, whether at home or in foreign lands, to the same extent as its native-born citizens.

Whereas, one of the greatest necessities of the age, in a political, commercial, postal and military point of view, is speedy communication between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Therefore be it

Resolved, that the National Democratic party do hereby pledge themselves to use every means in their power to secure the passage of some bill, to the extent of the constitutional authority of Congress, for the construction of a Pacific Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, at the earliest practicable moment.




Source: National Party Platforms: Volume I 1840-1956, compiled by Donald Bruce Johnson, University of Illinois Press, p. 31



So nothing about the Morrill Tariff, explicitly Denies State Rights(in regards to the Federal Fugitive Slave Law) and favors internal Improvements (Pacific Railroad). Rather than ignoring slavery, it is repeatedly spoken of.

So that's a hefty .000 batting average.

Indeed. And I have to call special attention to this plank:

2. That it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends.

Not only is this pro-slavery (the "property" referred to being "chattel property"), but it's calling for a massive increase in federal power, bureaucracy, and intrusion into every aspect of life.
 

Mike Griffith

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Sorry, Mike, but I have to point out that this is incorrect, once again. Let's take a look at the 1860 Republican Party platform. You will note that several of its planks (which I've highlighted. . . . [SNIP]

No, I am not incorrect, and I wonder if you even read or understood my points. No credible historian would dispute the fact that Lincoln favored large-scale federal public works program, a huge hike in the tariff, curbing states rights when deemed necessary, etc., etc.

Furthermore, as a matter of fact, not one item that you highlighted involved any of Lincoln's stands on the issues I mentioned, and nothing in the 1860 Republican Party platform contradicts a word that I said. I wasn't talking about his stand on the Kansas issue, the Lecompton Constitution, reopening the slave trade (which even Jefferson Davis opposed), slavery's extension, etc., etc. I was talking about his stand on internal improvements, tariffs, federal power, states rights, etc., etc.

You may be interested to know that I agree that the Lecompton Constitution was invalid and unethical. I happen to believe that much of what the pro-slavery forces in Kansas were doing was wrong.
 

brass napoleon

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No, I am not incorrect, and I wonder if you even read or understood my points. No credible historian would dispute the fact that Lincoln favored large-scale federal public works program, a huge hike in the tariff, curbing states rights when deemed necessary, etc., etc.

Furthermore, as a matter of fact, not one item that you highlighted involved any of Lincoln's stands on the issues I mentioned, and nothing in the 1860 Republican Party platform contradicts a word that I said.

Indeed it does. And the platform speaks for itself. If you're trying to suggest that Lincoln's policies were different than those outlined in the platform, give us some DIRECT QUOTES from him to prove it, with sources.


I wasn't talking about his stand on the Kansas issue, the Lecompton Constitution, reopening the slave trade (which even Jefferson Davis opposed), slavery's extension, etc., etc. I was talking about his stand on internal improvements, tariffs, federal power, states rights, etc., etc.

Yes, I know. That's the point. You're avoiding the slavery issue like the plague. But it dwarfed all other issues in both the Republican platform and the Breckenridge platform.

You may be interested to know that I agree that the Lecompton Constitution was invalid and unethical. I happen to believe that much of what the pro-slavery forces in Kansas were doing was wrong.

Well that I'm glad to hear. :smile:
 

Mike Griffith

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Indeed it does. And the platform speaks for itself. If you're trying to suggest that Lincoln's policies were different than those outlined in the platform, give us some DIRECT QUOTES from him to prove it, with sources.

I'll tell you what: How about if you find me one reputable, credible historian who disputes the fact that Lincoln was an ardent supporter of high tariffs (including the Morrill Tariff), that he had a long-standing record of supporting federal internal improvements, that he opposed states rights in most cases, etc., etc.?

And, by the way, the Republican platform endorsed internal improvements and an "adjustment" in "imposts."

Yes, I know. That's the point. You're avoiding the slavery issue like the plague. But it dwarfed all other issues in both the Republican platform and the Breckenridge platform.

Republican candidates spent much of their time in the 1860 election stumping for increased federal internal improvements and a higher tariff rate. Those were two huge issues in that election, in addition to the expansion of slavery into the territories. Oh, and a number of Republican candidates assured their audiences that the Republican Party was "the white man's party."

The point of my first reply in this thread was to discuss those issues that are still relevant today. Issues regarding slavery are long dead and gone.

But if you want to discuss them, we could start with Lincoln's ardent support for the Corwin Amendment, which would have prohibited the federal government from abolishing slavery, ever. Someone else responded in another thread that this wasn't so. But just go read the debates over the Corwin Amendment. Read what the Radical Republicans said about the amendment. And, go read the amendment itself; its plain English is hard to misunderstand. By the way, the Corwin Amendment was passed by the House and Senate without any votes from Senators and Representatives from the seceded states.

Or, we could talk about Lincoln's support for Illinois's draconian black codes, his long-standing support for colonization, his numerous statements about black inferiority and white supremacy, his opposition to equal pay for black soldiers, his belief that the Constitution was the "white man's charter of freedom," his support for the Fugitive Slave Law, his adamant statement that he was absolutely willing to save the Union without freeing a single slave, and his opposition to allowing all former slaves to vote. A good place to start is African-American scholar Lerone Bennett's book Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream.
 
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