Lincoln Landmark - Elected President of the United States, November 8, 1860

Lincoln was the first Republican to win the election as President. In the tradition of the times, once he was nominated by his party (May 18) he did not give speeches or actively campaign. His platform was to keep the Union together and to allow for slavery but not its territorial expansion (counteracting the Kansas-Nebraska Act). He relied on his reputation of being a common man’s voice from the Western states, as well as printed speeches of the Lincoln-Douglas debates and his Cooper Union address. Lincoln defeated Douglas and Breckenridge, Democratic candidates whose votes were split between the North and the South. With his success he was immediately thrust into a national crisis as several Southern state governments voted to secede from the Union.


Following his election, President-elect Lincoln wrote this private and confidential letter to Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull to not compromise principles on which he was elected.

12/10/1860  …Let there be no compromise on the question of extending slavery. If there be, all our labor is lost, and ere long, must be done again. The dangerous ground—that into which some of our friends have a hankering to run—is popular sovereignty. Have none of it. Stand firm. The tug has come & better now than any time hereafter… FT 85