From much doubt and uncertainty at its beginning, the campaign swept onward through the summer months, first to a probability, then to an assurance of Republican success. In September the State of Maine elected a Republican governor by 18,000 majority. In October the pivotal States gave decisive Republican majorities: Pennsylvania 32,000 for governor, Indiana nearly 10,000 for governor, and Ohio 12,000 for State ticket and 27,000 on Congressmen. Politicians generally conceded that the vote in these States clearly foreshadowed Lincoln’s election. The prophecy not only proved correct, but the tide of popular conviction and enthusiasm, rising still higher, carried to his support other States which were yet considered uncertain.
The Presidential election occurred on November 6,1860. In seventeen of the free-States—namely, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, California, and Oregon—all the Lincoln electors were chosen. In one of the free-States (New Jersey) the choice resulted in 4 electors for Lincoln and 3 for Douglas, as already explained. This assured Lincoln of the votes of 180 Presidential electors, or a majority of 57 in the whole electoral college. The 15 slave-States were divided between the other three candidates. Eleven of them—Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas—chose Breckinridge electors, 72 in all. Three of them—Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia—chose Bell electors, 39 in all; and one of them—Missouri—Douglas electors, 9 in number, which, together with the 3 he received in the free-State of New Jersey, gave him 12 in all: the aggregate of all the electors opposed to Lincoln being 123.
The will of the people as expressed in this popular vote was in due time carried into execution. As the law prescribes, the Presidential electors met in their several States on the 5th of December, and cast their official votes according to the above enumeration. And on the 13th of February, 1861, the Congress of the United States in joint session made the official count, and declared that Abraham Lincoln, having received a majority of the votes of Presidential electors, was duly elected President of the United States for four years, beginning March 4, 1861.
One feature of the result must not be omitted. Many careless observers felt at the time that the success of Lincoln was due entirely to the fact of there having been three opposing candidates in the field; or, in other words, to the dissensions in the Democratic party, which divided its vote between Breckinridge and Douglas. What merely moral strength the Democratic party would have gained had it remained united, it is impossible to estimate. Such a supposition can only be based on the absence of the extreme Southern doctrines concerning slavery. Given the presence