How does Lincoln’s 1860 election stack up when compared to other major election races?

1860 Read more from
Chapter Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861

Ever since George Washington made a clean sweep of the electoral vote in 1789, Americans have looked for clear-cut winners. But once the popular votes were counted and made public, there have been a whole number of close and contested elections.

Lincoln did not have a majority election decision, as did Andrew Jackson in 1828 and 1832, and he did not clean up on his opponents as Franklin Roosevelt did in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944. But his margin of victory was far larger than that of John F. Kennedy in 1960, and his Electoral College victory was better than that of Bill Clinton in 1992. Then, too, those who criticized Lincoln for being a minority president ignored the simple fact that Lincoln did more with his slender margin of victory than almost any other president of any century.


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