Essay Paper: 1860 Presidential Election

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December 26, 2013

Facts leading to the 1860 Presidential Election and the Outcome

Schisms dominated the American society prior since its independence, and particularly in the 19th century. The country manifested many disparities largely built upon geographical realities and ideological factors such as slavery, economic policies, and supremacy between the states and the union. These divergences influenced the policies of the major political parties during the elections of 1860, and spurred the civil war that arose shortly after. The same factors continued to influence the country’s political thought and patterns after the civil war period.

Before the elections, the nation depicted a deep divided along geographic regions. The nation had also ingrained social and economic inequity among its citizens, with the Northern States having entrenched technology and industrialization as the key economic drivers, while the Southern or the Slave States pursued an agricultural led economy, largely built on the cultivation of cotton. The Northern States also had an aversion for slavery, while the Southern States had a partiality for it, to cater to their labor requirements. They subsequently went by the references of the Free States and the Slave States respectively. The Southern States moreover championed the supremacy of states’ rights to self-determination, while the Northern States favored a strong federal government (Wilentz 21).

The elections occurred under a charged political environment pitting the Democratic Party against the Republican Party. The Republican Party largely comprised of abolitionists who opposed slavery. The Democratic Party on the other hand depicted a split on the matter, with the Southern members who favored the enforcement of slavery and the Northern members who favored a noninterventionist policy from the government, fronting separate candidates to contest the presidency. The Republican Party on its part promised increased funding to support internal infrastructural development such as road and railway constructions, expansion of the nation westwards, and improvements in the standards of living for all Americans. The party also campaigned on the platform of protectionism policies for local industries such as the introduction of punitive tariffs for imports of industrial goods that competed against local products (Wilentz 47)…”

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