Abraham Lincoln was elected to his first term as President of the United States on November 6, 1860. His running mate was Hannibal Hamlin of Maine.
Lincoln faced three other major candidates in this election. Stephen A. Douglas represented the northern Democratic party. John C. Breckenridge represented the southern Democrats. John Bell was the candidate for the Constitutional Union party. Lincoln won with a plurality of only 39.8% of the popular vote, but was the clear winner in the electoral college with a total of 180 votes, more than the other three candidates combined.
In less than 15 years, Lincoln had risen from serving as an obscure single-term U.S. Congressman to achieving the highest office in the land. He of course rocketed to national prominence during the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates held during his run for the U.S. Senate against Douglas only two years before the presidential election.
How unfortunate for our country that today’s leading candidates for the presidency pale in comparison to both Lincoln and Douglas. Why can’t, or won’t, our political parties give us better candidates from which to choose?