That time Democrats removed Abe Lincoln from the ballot

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The election of 1860

By LINCOLN MEMORIAL SHRINE AND MUSEUM

Two hundred years after his birth, the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln continues to fascinate and inspire. Born into poverty on the edge of an untamed frontier, his rise from obscurity to greatness has become a symbol of the universal hope that we can all improve our circumstances in life.

(National Park Service)

The election of 1860 might have been the most pivotal in American history. Abraham Lincoln, the candidate of the 6-year-old Republican Party, ran on a platform of keeping slavery completely out of the new territories that had been annexed from Mexico 11 years earlier. The dominant Democratic Party split into two factions over the slavery extension issue. Northern Democrats who felt the residents of the territories themselves should decide nominated Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas, Lincoln’s longtime rival, as their standard bearer. Southern Democrats who wanted slavery extended regardless of the residents’ desires nominated Vice President John Breckinridge of Kentucky. A fourth candidate, John Bell, ran as a compromise candidate under the “Keep the Union together at all costs” banner of the Constitutional Union Party. The campaign was heated. Lincoln and the Republicans were not even on the ballot in the states of the Deep South. Although Lincoln only won 40% of the popular vote, the split in the Democratic Party enabled him to secure a comfortable majority in the Electoral College.


California was one of the states that would have opted for the Democrat had they run only one candidate. The map below demonstrates county-by-county results, indicating the percentage of the popular vote earned by the winning candidate in each county. Shades of red are for Lincoln, shades of blue are for Northern Democrat Douglas, shades of green are for Southern Democrat John Breckinridge, shades of yellow are for Constitutional Unionist Bell and shades of purple for the non-Republican/Democratic “Fusion” candidates. Grey are counties with no results. (South Carolina voted overwhelmingly for Breckinridge but county results were unavailable). Note that San Bernardino County voted narrowly for Lincoln.

More at this link: https://www.lincolnshrine.org/exhibits/election-of-1860/

57 COMMENTS

  1. I think abe Lincoln’s presidency was epic both good and bad . The slaves freed but the trampling on states rights has had repercussions ever since.
    Yes the federal government did its duty and duly put full rights into the slaves hands .
    Was it necessary to use such extreme violence to do so ?
    I don’t think so .
    Slavery was doomed and being phased out worldwide.
    More soldiers died in the civil war than all our other wars combined.
    We should have stuck to the democratic and legal process. The mistake of declaring war on our country brethren echoes today. The federal government took and used power that was not rightly given.
    Yes thankfully the slaves are free but the colored people still vote for the political party that kept them enslaved and murdered the hero , Abe Lincoln.
    The colored people are still being held back by the party of enslavement . Through the use of reliance and poverty inducing political policies.

    • I think the problem is the states that seceded gave up on the democratic process. That process elected Lincoln and in every letter of secession the institution of slavery was mentioned directly as the reason. The federal government also did not fire the first shots of the war. I’m not sure it’s accurate to lay the violence of the war at the feet of the federal government. In addition the idea that slavery was doomed, doesn’t account for the additional generations that would have continued to be born and suffer in slavery if it was allowed to end slowly. Over the years there have been multiple efforts to rebrand the civil war into something that it wasn’t, it was not a true example of state rights vs federal rights we know explicitly which rights superceed the other, and honest people knew then as well. They also knew that slavery was wrong, they just chose to continue that evil.

      • Fort Sumter. Where the shots started; The south fired on the north.
        Consider that to be akin to Hamas, going into Isreal and killing some Jews, then getting their butte kicked and crying “It could have been solved without a war!”
        Yeah, but The South didn’t let that happen, did they.
        They had to have their little war. Just as Democrat Trueman just HAD to drop his two atom bombs on Japan, and already defeated foe. And he choose to drop them on civilian cities, not even a military target.
        Did you know that Democrats also removed Lincoln in the next election? Yeah. At the Ford Theatre.

        • You need to study your history a bit better. japan was NOT defeated. had the bombs not been dropped the effort to take Japan would have lasted for years and ended Millions of American lives as well and more millions of Japanese.
          Hiroshima was a city of considerable military importance. It contained the 2nd Army Headquarters, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. The city was a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops.

      • Steve – yes of course Americans.

        American war versus American war .
        Otherwise you would have to include all civil wars.

        Once you add in disease and other casualties in the American civil war its even more glaring.

      • Over 40000 died at Gettysburg , almost more then the whole vitnam. The American Civil War is the conflict with the largest number of American military fatalities in history. In fact, the Civil War death toll is comparable to all other major wars, combined the deadliest of which were the world wars, which have a combined death toll of more than 520,000 American fatalities.

      • Of course he meant more Americans died in the Civil War than Americans in other wars. Use your common sense dude!

      • The war dead can be counted in many ways. Just like a Covid-based election.
        “Bitten in the head by a gator? Death by Covid! And that pumpkin-man said a horse drug would save you! Haw haw! Vote Mr. Marlarkey, here, in these drop-boxes safe from his viral eyes, build back better, vote more bigger, vote deader and more often! And those aliens, those crime rates, those riots? They don’t mean nuthin’! That orange man, he be a walkin’ insurrection!”

    • I’m pretty sure that the slave holding states seceded because they wanted to expand the keeping of humans as chattle. As you yourself have previously acknowledged owning another human was never constitutional, the right to own humans was never a right and thus never a states rights issue.

    • You’ve gotta be the most backwards map reader on the planet…. How do today’s 2023 democrats control the north, and the south belongs to republicans??? How is it possible that the republicans in the south currently worship those democrat confederate statues as heritage?? Why do more republicans fly the confederate flags in their homes and vote republican? Could it be, they just changed their name from democrat to republican and just stayed in those southern states???? Or was it a massive migration from republicans in the north moving to the south and democrats in the south moving to the north??? 🤔. Be for real. Your Republican Party in the south is that party that was so embarrassed by the whopping defeat in the civil war, that you’all decided to change your party names to wipe the shame you brought into this country. If you ain’t black, don’t talk about the black experience and who they support.

      • Why?
        Democrats & Republicans, like any human-made entity have evolved, changed over time. And yes, the Democratic (party) platform of today does share many of the same early Republican philosophies. And visa-versa. Voila’!!
        Proof that there’s room for a third party!!!

      • Sorry, but I disagree with your assumption that the southern republicans of today, were a result of a name change. I was born and raised in NJ but moved south due to the take over of the north by the southern democrats that imposed slavery and refused to give it up. Read the book, The History of Beaufort County South Carolina Vol. 3 by Lawrence S. Rowland and Stephen R. Wise Chapters 4 and 5. It is glaring clear that the democrats that seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States are also the ones that even today are keeping the heirs of former slaves hostage. (My words not the authors) The Republicans that won the war, gave as much power the the Freeman, even as rewriting many of the southern states’ constitutions. The defeated democrats, in SC anyways, changed the constitution in 1895 and took away the power the Freeman had been given in 1868. Read the rest for yourself.

      • Could a white person say the same thing? If you’re not white than don’t speak of white history or experiences or who they support. Or if your not Asian, Hispanic, ECT. Where does it stop?

    • Food for thought.
      The Civil War. Is a prime example of insurrections. Section 3 of the 14th amendment . The Confederate soldiers., was the intent of this clause which bars anyone engaged in his direction or rebellion from holding federal office. How many Confederate soldiers held office as Congress after the Civil War.
      Charles S Thomas of Colorado was the last Confederate veteran to serve in the Senate born in Georgia. He served briefly as a teenager in the confederate army. He settled in Denver after the war where he built a law practice and pursued a Senate career following three failed attempts to gain a Senate seat. The 63 year old Thomas finally became a US senator in 1913 a position he held until 1921.

        • Nice try. An Amendment to the Constitution is an amendment for all time (or until repealed by another amendment), NOT for one moment in history. If that weren’t so, women might only have been able to vote in one election. Or the abolition of slavery could have just been applied for a couple years or just in certain states. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says that anyone engaging in insurrection (then, now and forever after) should not be allowed to hold office having previously sworn allegiance. Sorry to he-who-shall-not-be-named.

    • Times have very much changed, modern ellections & all parties stand for very different things than they did back then, democrat polaticions are considered not obly racist but communists by republican citizens, most polaticions from both sides have been corrupted by the power they weild in my opinion, DC needs an enema but thats just what i think. But much like this ellection the dems tried to block lincoln from even being able to run for president (slippery slope) there were many factors im sure but i wasnt there so i can only speculate based on the history ive studied, but the attemp to block a candidate from running for office was a factor that led to civil war & we seem to be on the edge of that again in the US. The current dem party is pulling for a great deal of communist like policy & its becoming very apparent to those that are paying attention.

    • In our founding documents, regardless of the horrible compromises made to form the Union, human, God-given, or natural rights take precedence over the right of the state or states. That was the central idea behind the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and their replacement, the U.S. Constitution. In the 80 some-odd years following the American Revolution, most Americans came to realize that idea that “all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” did in fact, mean all men and had to be enforced despite the insistence of a small percentage of people who wanted to continue their benefits from ignoring that fact. Those central, God-given rights and the national government’s absolute obligations to enforce their exercise for all overrode all other concerns. Lincoln wa right to do what had to be done; another 5, 10, 20 or 50 years of slavery would have been not only a nightmare for slaves but also would probably have meant a much worse situation in this country today from Lincoln having kicked the can down the road.

  2. What will happen when a nation wide write in campaign for DJT occurs? Guess the machines won’t matter and it will be really hard to conjure up the necessary votes to stop him. Just saying….

      • I didn’t realize this. How can a state tell people who they can vote for in a federal election? As soon as I think I know something I find out I didn’t get it at all. Thanks for the insight!

        • The question isn’t exactly who the people can vote for, it is who is eligible to run for office. Under the constitution no one who aided or participated in an insurrection, or who aided or provided comfort to insurrectionists, can run for office. Trump called his followers to the capitol on the day of election, urging them to fight “or you won’t have a country.” This was a call to action, to do something now about the election he claimed was stolen from him. Many people in his administration told him otherwise. He watched the violence & did nothing to stop it until after Congress members had escaped harm. Then, he thanked the people who had tried to stop the certification, who had hunted for Pelosi and chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” Since then he has talked about pardoning the rioters, who he still applauds, both of which must be “comforting” to them. There is a strong case Trump participated in the insurrection. He called the crowd to DC weeks after telling a violent militia to “stand back and stand by.” He orchestrated slates of alternate electors & pressured Pence to not certify the election, despite the vote being recounted & audited in the key states. There is also a strong case he has comforted, and maybe aided, the insurrectionists.

          • An insurrection without weapons? It has been 3 years now and nobody has been charged with insurrection. Nobody. Removing a name from the ballot and denying the American people the right to write in the candidate of their choice is election interference. Feel free to call it a riot…or a “mostly peaceful protest”. Insurrection doesn’t apply.

            “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

          • Trump has yet to be indicted or convicted of “Insurrection.” Moreover, he told his supporters to “peaceful and patriotically protest.” And yet, people demand that Trump be penalized without due process. On the otherhand, Maxine Waters told people to “get more confrontational.” Was she penalized for this “call to action?” No. There is nothing illegal about being concerned that the election was not fair. To this day, Hilary Clinton disputes the 2016 election. Was she penalized? No.

            Per Legal Information Institute, ‘The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. These words have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law (“legality”) and provide fair procedures.’

            Whether or not you like Trump, he is an American citizen and thus, he deserves due process.

          • Funny how no prosecution in any jurisdiction found grounds to charge him with any “insurrection” counts; let alone any conviction. Why no due process? Oh, by any means necessary? The Colorado Supreme Court got it wrong. Your rhetoric is the summary of the Jan 1 commission. Another example of partison theater with no due process. Are you that afraid of letting the American people decide the election? And you wonder why the Conservatives are skeptical of the election system… the means justify the ends? 😥

          • Re-read article 3 of the 14th Amendment. In does not say Nobody. Also, has Mr. Trump
            been tried and convicted of insurrection? It seems he would have been if the evidence supported such a charge. He has been charged with many many other items without much evidence. Surely Insurrection would have been added to the pile if there was ANY thing to support it. No?

          • Well said! While it’s not as cut and dried as “must be 35 years old” or “must be a natural born citizen” not being an insurrectionist has the same disqualifying effect as either of these other two. If some teenager (or some Canadian) was trying to get on the ballot, no one would think anything of a Secretary of State blocking it. The problem is, what most (or many?) people see as a clear example of insurrection, others see as a tourist visit or just OTHER people committing insurrection but not him. Therein lies the unbelievable rub.

      • Do it anyway!

        The only way to fight tyranny — which this ridiculous ruling by the partisan hacks on the Colorado Supreme Court truly is — is to FIGHT! Not necessarily with guns and bullets, but simply by withdrawing your sanction, and exposing the tyrants’ illegitimacy and inherent impotence.

        I am astounded, daily, by the lack of ANY semblance of courage, conviction or backbone in most Americans nowadays. I’ve been saying for over 20 years that this or that latest outrage, had it happened 30 or 40 years prior, would have led to riots in the streets. But now, with a much, MUCH greater accumulation of outrages and infringements on our freedoms, the vast majority cannot even be bothered to look up from their idiot-phones.

        • Just because there is a write in option does not mean it will count. In Alaska, if the person hasn’t registered as a write in candidate, it does not count. I don’t know about Colorado but I assume it is the same as a person can’t be elected who isn’t actually running. In Alaska, if everyone writes in Santa, it doesn’t count if Santa hasn’t registered as a write in candidate. The Colorado Supreme Court won’t let Trump register as a write in candidate so he can’t win regardless of how many people write in his name. They are just wasting their vote… which incidentally is what every conservative vote in Colorado already is.

        • He doesn’t have to be convicted of insurrection as long as he has been found to have engaged in it. That designation is up to a judge or Secretary of State, depending on the voting laws of that state.

    • Doesn’t matter. Colorado is, was, and will be a BLUE state. Donny never had a shot anyway. Biden beat him by 13 points in 2020.

      I look forward to his proclamation of “They stole it again” as he is trundled off to a federal vacation.

      • Are you sure He doesnt deserve the death penalty for removing the tag off his mattress?
        The Fraudulent Bureau of Investigations combed every square inch of his home(including Malonia’s underware and the mattress tag was nowhere to be found…He must be guilty.
        Off with his head!

      • Only the cities are blue, Only 23 counties out of 64 voted for biden. IF states did a electoral style of voting where each county decides who they support then Trump would have won hands down. The popular vote is nothing more than mob rule.

        • The electoral college is based on population numbers. The same thing would occur if Colorado proportioned their votes the same way the states do for presidential elections.

          More populous counties/cities like Denver or Fort Collins would have higher Electoral Votes than say Durango or Gunnison.

          Look at Denver and Fort Collins as California or New York and look at Durango or Gunnison as Montana or Alaska.

          The results would be the same.

    • To me the write-in votes won’t count, it is the constitution that will be used to disqualify a person–just like age is a disqualifier. If the write-in name gets the votes to get electors to certify their state, congress can’t accept those as the person is disqualified under the Constitution. Congress would need 2/3 majority vote to allow a disqualified candidate to take office.

    • Hope you’re right but I am convinced by their past action that Democrats, establishment Republicans and their media propagandists will stop at nothing to keep Trump or anyone standing in their way out of office or any positions of influence.

  3. To place this in historical context, in 1860 voters (at least in the South) still voted for presidential electors directly as opposed to the “general ticket” system to which we have become accustomed today whereby voters “vote” for a candidate, but their vote is actually for a list of electors who have publicly pledged to cast their votes for that candidate.

    Despite the direct election of presidential electors, it had become common even in 1860 for elector candidates to publicly pledge their support for a particular presidential candidate (which is somewhat at odds with the Founders’ vision for the system). In many parts of the South publicly declaring one’s support for Lincoln would have, at the very least, resulted in social and political suicide which meant that in the South no person was willing to publicly declare such support. The voters, in turn, were not aware of any elector candidates pledged to vote for Lincoln and were therefore unable to meaningfully express their support for him. Lincoln was not, therefore, “removed” from the ballot by any official government act in the way that Colorado is attempting to do with Trump.

  4. It’s going to be highly embarrassing for Colorado when they have to cast their electoral votes for Trump because of all the write ins that will happen if they stay the course on this and happen to succeed after the legal challenges…besides Colorado is claiming he caused an insurrection so he is disqualified, right? Well, where is the proof so far? Where is the conviction? It’s an unsupported claim and it is probably going to cost them dearly when it gets fought in Federal Supreme Court and they have to reverse course because it will be found unconstitutional…the real question is, who in Colorado is in Bidens pocket and is trying these shenanigans?

  5. Doing the same thing now with Trump. Colorado has decided to take a presidential candidate off of the ballot for no reason other than they don’t want him on there. If this trend continues we will have another civil war.

  6. Lincoln couldn’t be an American President because he was a lawyer, an Esquire/Shield Bearer, and the original equity contract, the 1787 Constitution for the United States of America forbid anyone with a Title of Nobility to hold public office. He was the President of a corporation The United States of America Inc which he bankrupted. The actual government of, for and by the people does not have bankruptcy protection. There were two Constitutions, codicils to the original, created for the corporations contracted to provide governmental services, the Constitution of the United States of America for the Territorial United States of America Inc and the Constitution of the United States for the Municipal corporation, the UNITED STATES INC.

  7. Sharon smyth you are partly correct. The 1871 Act was voted upon President Lincoln and a false congress. The southern states decided to vacate there seats in the assembly because of several reasons. One of which was the Act of 1871. The vacated southern assembly seats were illegally filled by northern people aligned with the Act. It was voted upon and approved illegally. Eventually forcing the States to be part of the NEW COPRPORATION. But in 1903 the Supreme Court upheld the ruling that the southern state assembly seats were and are still open to be filled by “WE THE PEOPLE” as self governed people. You can find more specific information on how We All Can Take Back Control – Peacefully and Legally. To Re-Assemble our counties and states.
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