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Introduction

The Presidential election of 1860 took place against a background of bitter sectional tensions and political polarization. The contest involved four major candidates: Stephen Douglas, representing the national Democratic Party; John Breckinridge, representing pro-slavery Southern Democrats who refused to endorse Douglas; John Bell, representing an ad-hoc alliance of conservative centrists calling itself the Constitutional Union Party; and Abraham Lincoln, representing the relatively new Republican Party. This module shows the results of this tumultuous and divisive election, arguably the most confusing and most directly significant presidential election in the nation's history. The first map shows the presidential election by county. The second map shows the electoral vote by state. The final map compares the county and state data.