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The election of 1860; Abraham Lincoln


Abolitionism and Antislavery
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
The Road To War: The 1860 Election

Relevant transcripts:
The reason the South seceded was concern over the security of slavery.

The Civil War
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Who's Who
Resource Type: Primary Source
John Bell (1797–1869).

Who's Who
Resource Type: Primary Source
Abraham Lincoln (1809–65), two weeks before the final Lincoln-Douglas debate (October 1, 1858).

Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)
Resource Type: Primary Source
President of the United States (1861–65) during the Civil War. Although not an abolitionist, Lincoln denounced slavery as morally wrong and firmly opposed both the Dred Scott decision and the expansion of slavery into the territories. Nominated for president by the Republican Party in 1860, he won the election but with a minority of the vote. Lincoln's victory provoked the secession of Southern states, which in 1861 led to the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1863 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring free the slaves in states that were "in rebellion" (but not freeing slaves in slaveholding states that had remained in the Union). The Gettysburg Address, which he made in 1863 at the dedication of the soldiers' cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, would become one of the most quoted of modern speeches. Lincoln was reelected in 1864 but was assassinated the following spring, only days after Lee's surrender had effectively marked the end of the Civil War.

Why Did the South (Excluding the Border States) Secede?
Resource Type: Point-Counterpoint
The cause of the Civil War is hotly debated and contested by historians. Some disagree with Eric Foner's thesis and assign to slavery a lesser role in causing the Civil War. Two interpretations that predate Foner are worth mentioning: the economic one, put forth by Charles and Mary Beard; and the political one, proposed by Avery Craven and James G. Randall, which maintains that the war was caused by a "blundering generation" of 1850s leaders, who missed the opportunity to compromise.

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