The Election of 1860 | National Humanities Center

Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

The Election of 1860

Elections; American History; Presidents of the United States; Politics

Jonathan Earle (Roger Hadfield Ogden Dean, LSU Honors College and Associate Professor, Louisiana State University)

October 20, 2020

This year’s election stakes are high, to say the least. But perhaps no presidential vote in U.S. history was more consequential than that of 1860. The nation roiled over the issue of slavery. Abraham Lincoln captured the Republican nomination over New York Senator William Seward, and then took on a divided Democratic Party. His win in November–with less than 40% of the popular vote–prompted the immediate secession of South Carolina, roused the rest of the South, and ushered in the Civil War. In this webinar, we will discuss and explore just how frayed the nation’s political system had become after a decade of uninterrupted sectional turmoil, and how unlikely a Henry Clay-style grand compromise would be at the start of the new decade.


History / Political Science / Elections / American History / Presidents of the United States / Politics /