Parades, Protests and Politics

A Convention of Compromise: 1860

Lincoln Portrait

Lincoln in 1860 in Springfield.
Photo by Preston Butler.
(CHS ICHi-11388)

In May 1860, Republican delegates flooded into Chicago's "Wigwam" for their second national convention. The Democratic Party had split over the issue of whether slavery should be extended into the territories, increasing the Republicans' chances of winning the general election.

New York senator William H. Seward was the favorite going into the convention. On the eve of the presidential balloting, however, the campaign staff of Abraham Lincoln, as well as some members of the Illinois delegation, bartered with key delegation leaders to secure Lincoln's nomination. Chicago mayor John Wentworth packed the galleries of the convention with Lincoln supporters while Seward's backers were absent for a parade. The cheers from the gallery helped convince the delegates of Lincoln's strong support.

These tactics paid off on the third ballot when the convention unanimously nominated Lincoln for president. Sen. Hannibal Hamlin of Maine was voted in as the vice presidential nominee. Lincoln supporters then traveled to Springfield, where the candidate had waited throughout the convention, to formally notify him of his nomination.

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World's Columbian Expo
Parades, Protest and Politics
Parades, Protests and Politics Photo Gallery
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The Pullman Era
The Stockyards
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