Then presidential elections of the years past have had a major impact on the world existing today. In my report I researched the election of 1860. Abraham Lincoln’s victory in this election enabled Black People to be free in our society today.
There were four major candidates in this election. The choice for the Republican Party was Abraham Lincoln. He was an excellent speaker who gained recognition during the Lincoln- Douglas debates. In his first major political appearance he won the support of many Americans through his powerful and famous speech at “Cooper Union” in New York City. In his speech, Lincoln deplored slavery and condemned violence. Lincoln won the nomination for his party because he was the only one acceptable to all of the different factions that existed in the Republican Party.
There also was a division within the Democratic Party. The popular choice for the Northern Democrats was Stephen Douglas. He was a spokesman for policy of National Expansion. His views supported family farming and free labor, which was a very significant issue at the time. The Southern Delegates nominated John Breckinridge of Kentucky who was also the Vice President of the United States. He advocated plantation economy and also supported slavery. Breckinridge caused the Southern Democratic delegates to form a Constitutional Union party because they did not agree with his politics. Therefore, they nominated a fourth candidate whose only cause was to preserve the union and attempted to rally the former Whigs. His name was John Bell of Tennessee. Bell wished to preserve the constitution (thus the constitutional union party).
Many different tactics were used by the candidates to gain votes. From time to time in United States history, presidential nominees of the major parties engage in debates. Some of the most famous debates in American political history, were those between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in 1858. At times, specific issues and slogans dominate presidential campaigns, such as morality of slavery and economic issues did during the 1860 elections. Both Lincoln and Douglas were excellent speakers and their debates helped display a side of the nominees that you did not think was there. For instance, you would not have thought that Douglas would be a powerful speaker. Lincoln seemed to be the quite type, but when he did speak his words were more powerful than his silence. These debates created a National reputation for Lincoln that propelled him toward the presidential nomination. During his acceptance speech for the Republican senatorial nomination in June 1858, Lincoln expressed the view that the nation would become either all slave or all free: “A house divided cannot stand!”. Not only did it denounce a divided society, but it also acquired the attention of the population. People became interested in the opinions of the candidates and withstood all types inclement weather just to hear them speak. The debates also informed the American people where each candidate stood on the issues of that time.
Abraham Lincoln won the election with only forty- percent of the popular vote. He received one hundred and eighty electoral votes, a majority. Breckinridge followed with the entire Deep South on his side, with seventy-two votes. Bell received thirty-nine and Douglas twelve. It is interesting to note that not one of Lincoln’s electoral votes was won in a Southern state. This did not entirely represent the will of the majority, being that Lincoln did not win by a landslide. However, in this election we see four serious party challengers where a candidate has been elected president by less than a majority of the popular vote. We see this happen again when Woodrow Wilson won the election in 1912, when Harry S. Truman won the election in 1948, and with the incumbent Bill Clinton’s recent victories in 1992 and 1996.
In my opinion, the best man won. Knowing the outcome of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, I can definitely say that he benefited the country, up until this very day. He truly saved the country from drowning in a sea of slavery. If I were a voter living in the 1860’s, I might have a different perspective. Depending on my social status, I might not have voted for him. My view would clash with his if I were a wealthy slave owner. If I were a poverty stricken lower classman, then slavery would probably be something I would be against, therefore agreeing with Abraham Lincoln. This election had a major impact on the history of America. Had Lincoln not been elected, slavery could still exist in our country, and possibly even have spread to others. If John Bell had won the election over Lincoln, slavery would be a given in our society today. We would probably be selling more than just the Black man. We would be selling Asian and Hispanics as well. The United States would not be known as a melting pot, and there would not be any immigrants because the would fear being sold. Most ethnic people would want to live as far away from America as possible. Maybe wealthy American’s would prosper, but any other kind of life would be no life at all. As a matter of fact, had Lincoln not won the 1860 election, I might not be here today.
There are many differences between the election of 1860 and the upcoming election of 2000. There has yet to be a major similarity. The times are different therefore the issues are different. In 1860 slavery was one of the major issues facing the country, and it was a very well debated topic. Today the major issues concern health reform, tax cuts, education and globalization. Campaigning tactic were very different then than they are now, due to the technology we have developed over the past fifty years. Candidates can communicate to millions of people at a time over the television. During the election of 1860, the people attending the debates were the only ones who were able to hear the candidates speak.
The candidates for the 2000 election have not been chosen yet by the parties. The primary candidates for the Democratic nomination are Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley. The candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are Governor George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes, Senator Orrin G. Hatch and Gary L. Bauer. The front runner of the Democratic Party is Vice President Al Gore, and the front runner for the Republican Party is George W. Bush. I think that if the election were held today, Al Gore would win. The issues existing today that are most important to the American people are social issues such as health reform, education and social security. The Democratic Party supports these issues. I think that the American society would vote for Gore because he can help better these issues. This election will have a different impact depending on the winner. If the Democratic Party wins, I think that there will be more change, since they are better associated with the average American’s needs. If a Republican wins, I don’t think that much change will come to our society as a whole. The only change seen with a Republican victory is for big businesses and industries.
In conclusion, the election of 1860 has had a decisive impact on the history of our Nation. It has rid our country of slavery and cleared the way for a new beginning, which helped create America today. Although Lincoln won the election by a minority, the majority of the public was still in his favor. It proved to be the right decision on behalf of the Americans that voted for him. The decisions that are being made today, about president, have a large affect on our future as well. There are so many things that need to be changed in our society, and voting for the right president is one of the best solutions. I can not stress enough how important it is for people of our society to keep up with the election and to vote for the better candidate. The nation’s future is dependent on it and it’s the only way for change. Just like the election of 1860 changed our world today, the election of 2000 will change the world for tomorrow.