Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861


How close was the nomination fight?

Seward won the first ballot by a strong plurality, but he did not have the majority necessary. On each of the successive ballots, Lincoln’s numbers grew, and on the fourth, the convention managers paced the floor, asking the delegates to make it unanimous. Lincoln, who had been little known just two years earlier, had won the nomination of the Republican Party.

Lincoln immediately began a campaign to win over those he had defeated (this type of conciliation became a hallmark of his political style). The delegation from Wisconsin had been almost unanimously in favor of Seward, for example, and Lincoln’s campaign managers made a great effort to bring them into the new camp. By the end of June, they had largely succeeded.


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