November 1860

The Democratic party was hopelessly divided, which meant that a sectional Republican stood a good chance of being elected president. Many southerners made it clear that a Republican victory would end the Union, but nobody yet knew how serious that threat would be.

Key Events Leading to the War Between the States

The United States had been in existence for less than a century when it was nearly shattered by the most terrible conflict in its history. Why did it happen?

Crimsoned in Human Gore: The 1860 Elections

The growing political, economic, and social differences in America are epitomized by the most crucial presidential election in the young nation’s history.

The Revolution of 1860 Has Been Initiated

News of Abraham Lincoln’s presidential victory spreads as fast as the telegraph and railroad lines can carry it.

United We Stand, Divided We Stand Easier

Abraham Lincoln’s victory amplifies southern calls for secession, but for now this would be James Buchanan’s problem.

The Feeling of Secession Grows Stronger

Southern states begin taking steps toward leaving the Union, while some northerners begin talking of keeping the South in the Union, even by force if necessary.

Liberty Poles and Palmetto Flags: The Ball Rolls On

The commanding general of the U.S. Army replaces the aging commander of the Charleston Harbor defenses, as secession hysteria continues sweeping through South Carolina and beyond.

A Desire to Stand Between the Factions

President James Buchanan looks to his cabinet for advice on the secession crisis, but like the country itself, the cabinet is hopelessly divided.

Disunion Spreads Throughout the South

As the secession frenzy intensifies in Georgia, it begins rapidly spreading into other southern states as well.

Lincoln and Hamlin Meet at Chicago

Abraham Lincoln meets his vice president-elect for the first time as they discuss organizing the incoming administration in Chicago.

The Clouds Are Threatening and the Storm May Break

President James Buchanan gets an alarming request from Major Robert Anderson to send military reinforcements for the Federal garrison in Charleston Harbor.

The Lincolns Leave Chicago

Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln end their Chicago trip and head back home to Springfield.

The Times Demand a Jackson

President-elect Lincoln continues trying to assure southerners that he will not interfere with the affairs within their states, at the same time downplaying the notion that the South might actually leave the Union.

Last Updated: 12/18/2020

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