Abraham Lincoln Elected the 16th President of the United States – 1860

Posted on November 6, 2014 by Jennifer Stingley at AncestorArchaeology.com
Categories: Today in History
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November 6, 1860 (United States of America) – Abraham Lincoln defeated John C. Breckenridge, John Bell, and Stephen Douglas in the Presidential election, becoming the nation’s first Republican president.

Two years earlier, Mr. Lincoln lost the Illinois senate race to Stephen Douglas after a series of debates in which Lincoln spoke against the further spread of slavery.  It was this stance that earned the attention of the burgeoning Republican party, and eventually Lincoln’s nomination as their presidential candidate.

March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated.  Seven southern states had already ceded from the Union, following up on their threats of secession if a Republican were voted president.  A month later, Gen. Beauregard and his troops opened fire on Fort Sumter, beginning the Civil War.

It’s very clear that Lincoln’s thoughts about expanding slavery and his political party affiliation helped sink the United States into what is generally considered its most turbulent period, but what impact did this have on genealogy?

  • Families found themselves torn apart, both by opposing ideologies and geographical boundaries, and in many cases, those bonds were never repaired.
  • Over half a million soldiers died as a result of the Civil War.  Civilian casualties also occurred due to malnutrition, illness, and murder at the hands of the opposition.  This left families without their patriarchs and matriarchs, and many family lines simply died out.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 paved the way for the end of all slavery at the war’s conclusion.  As free men and women (no longer considered property), these former slaves were allowed to legally marry, and own land and other property.  Without these rights, there would be little to no paper trail for their descendants to follow – slaves were rarely named in census records, and most wills and manumission documents are hard to find, if they even exist.

Although no one knew it then, the election of Abraham Lincoln forever changed the American landscape, and our family histories.

Other Events Today in History

  • 1528 – Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca “discovers” Texas
  • 1789 – Pope Pius VI appoints John Carroll bishop of Baltimore, making him the first American bishop
  • 1861 – Jefferson Davis elected President of the Confederate States of America  (CSA)
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To cite this post:
Jennifer Lynn Stingley, "Abraham Lincoln Elected the 16th President of the United States – 1860," Ancestor Archaeology, 6 November 2014 (http://ancestorarchaeology.com/2014/11/06/abraham-lincoln-elected-the-16th-president-of-the-united-states-1860/ : accessed [15 December 2017]).

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