November 6, Tuesday
Abraham Lincoln is elected sixteenth President of the United States, with Hannibal Hamlin of Maine his Vice-President. The Republican ticket of Lincoln and Hamlin receive 1,866,452 votes and 180 electoral votes in 17 of the 33 states. The Northern Democratic ticket of Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia draw 1,376,957 votes, but only 12 electoral votes, 9 from Missouri and 3 of the New Jersey votes. John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky and Joseph Lane of Oregon on the Southern Democratic ticket receive 849,781 votes from 11 of the 15 slave states, for 72 electoral votes. Constitutional Unionists John Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massachusetts draw 588,879 votes, for 39 electoral votes in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Because of fusion tickets and sectional difficulties, none of the candidates was on every ballot in all 33 states. While Lincoln is thus a minority President in the popular vote with just over a third of the ballots, he does receive a majority of the electoral votes, 180 to 123 for the other three candidates combined. Douglas’ poor electoral showing but high popular vote is due in part to the fact that he was the leading opponent to Lincoln in the populous North, where in some states Douglas and Lincoln were quite close.
While all the results show sectional voting to some extent, those of Lincoln and Breckinridge are the most pronounced. Only Bell carries his home county in the voting. Lincoln carries all the free states but none of the slave states. While trying to play down the radical label, the Republicans have been considered radical in the entire slave state area. In New Jersey Lincoln has four electoral votes to three for Douglas.
Mr. Lincoln spends the day in Springfield seeing visitors and receiving reports by telegraph. By 10 p.m. victory seems near, but there is still doubt — until Pennsylvania comes in Republican. As the victory is confirmed the President-elect visits the Watson Saloon, where a hundred female voices sing, “Ain’t you glad you joined the Republicans? Joined the Republicans, Ain’t you glad you joined the Republicans, down in Illinois?” At Democratic headquarters gloom sets in. In Mobile, Alabama, Douglas is in the office of the Mobile Register arguing with its editor that the results do not mean secession. But the senator’s attitude is described as “hopeless.”
For the Senate the voters decide that the Republicans will have 29 seats to 37 in opposition. In the House there will be 108 Republicans to 129 others. But soon, with secession, and some realignment, the Republicans will gain workable margins.
—G. K. Chesterton