Nov. 6, 1860 -- Abraham Lincoln is elected President of the United States, by gaining 38.9% of the popular vote. His name is not on the ballot in any of the states that eventually join the Confederacy, and only the slave states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri include the Republican ticket on the ballot. The Democratic Party had been unable to nominate a candidate in their convention in Charleston the previous spring, and so the party splits: Sen. Stephen Douglas of Illinois is the Northern Democrat candidate, and Vice President John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky is the Southern Democrat candidate.
Abraham Lincoln (Repub) 1,865,908 votes, 17 states, 180 electoral votes, 39.8%
Stephen Douglas (No. Dem.) 1,380,202 votes, 2 states, 12 electoral votes, 29.5%
John C. Breckenridge (So. Dem.) 848,019 votes, 10 states, 72 electoral votes, 18.1%
John Bell (Const. Union) 590,901 votes, 3 states, 39 electoral votes, 12.6%
It is interesting to note that John Bell and his party--a compromise party--carries 3 slave states, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, all three very populous, thereby gaining him 39 electoral votes, whereas Douglas has beaten his popular vote count by more than 2 to 1, but gains only Missouri and part of New Jersey (which splits its electoral votes). Even if all slave states had combined their vote behind one candidate, and all the Democrats had been united, the combined popular vote would have outstripped the Republicans by almost a million votes--but the combined electoral votes would still be only 123, not enough to beat Lincoln's 180. Why? One reason: Lincoln won many northern states (such as Illinois, New York, and California--which was a hotbed of secessionist sympathy, frankly) by a slim margin of the popular vote, but Breckenridge won each of his states by a landslide, thus padding his popular vote total. Also, slave states, by Constitutional law, could count 3/5 of each slave toward their population which determined how many Congressmen each state could send, and how many electoral votes they had. So each Southern state got more electoral votes with fewer actual citizens who could vote.