Lincoln and the 1860 Election


The results of the 1860 election for Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party in Kentucky drastically differed from the national results. Kentuckians viewed the possibility of Lincolns election and his policy against the expansion of slavery to future United States territories and states as a possible catalyst for disunion and war. During the 1860 election, Lincoln finished fourth out of four candidates in Kentucky, winning less than 1 percent of the popular vote with 1,364 total votes, 10 votes of which came from Lincolns ancestral and birth counties (Washington, Hardin, and Larue). John Bell, the leading candidate from the Constitutional Union Party, won 45 percent of the popular vote with 66,051 total votes (and all 12 electoral votes). John Bell was viewed as the least radical of all the candidates; his platform contained one plank: the preservation of the Union.


However, the vote on the national level brought about a much different result for Lincoln and the Republican Party. The national outcome of the 1860 election gave Lincoln a victory in both the popular vote and the electoral vote, with just under 40 percent of the popular vote, which totaled 1,866,452, and 180 electoral votes. Although Kentucky did not support Lincoln in either the 1860 or 1864 presidential elections, Kentucky remained an important focus of his policies throughout the Civil War.















Republic ticket flyer, 1860

Kentucky Historical Society Collections