November 6 - 1860 - Abraham Lincoln is Elected President
No election in American history was as consequential as the 1860 Presidential Election. Within two months of the election of Abraham Lincoln, South Carolina had seceded from the Union, and before Lincoln had been inaugurated, the Confederate States of America were formed. The Democratic Party unraveled first, as their convention in April in Charleston, South Carolina dissolved without a nominee. Arguing over the platform, a group of extreme pro-slavery agitators called "Fire Eaters" sought a platform that called for widespread expansion of slavery. This targeted the frontrunner for the nomination Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas and had the support of most Southern delegates. Meanwhile in Chicago, the still young Republican Party decided to choose a more moderate candidate, Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, who had lost a Senate race to Douglas two years earlier. A new party emerged called the Constitutional Union Party, which nominated John Bell of Tennessee and argued for the "Union as it is and Constiution as it is." When the Democrats met again in Baltimore in June, it came out as two parties, with Northern Democrats nominating Douglas and Southern Democrats nominating Vice President John Breckinridge. This division allowed Abraham Lincoln to easily take the election with less than 40 percent of the vote, and made most Southerners even more set on secession.