Civil War Wiki
1860 Republican National Convention
1860 Presidential Election
File:Abraham Lincoln head on shoulders photo portrait.jpg File:Hannibal Hamlin, photo portrait seated, c1860-65.jpg
Nominees Lincoln and Hamlin
Date(s) May 16-May 18, 1860
City Chicago, Illinois
Venue The Wigwam
Presidential Nominee Abraham Lincoln of Illinois
Vice Presidential Nominee Hannibal Hamlin of Maine
Other Candidates William H. Seward of New York
‹ 1856  ·  1864 ›

The 1860 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States, held in Chicago, Illinois at the Wigwam,[1] nominated former U.S. Representative Abraham Lincoln of Illinois for President and U.S. Senator Hannibal Hamlin of Maine for Vice President. This was only the second national nominating convention for the Republican Party.

Other candidates at the convention included former New York Governor William H. Seward, U.S. Senator Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, former U.S. Representative Edward Bates of Missouri, and U.S. Senator Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania.

This primary was notable as every candidate that ran for the Republican nomination eventually became a member of Lincoln's cabinet.

Seward had been the favorite going into the convention, and led on the first two ballots. His lead soon melted away to the dark horse Lincoln, who captured the nomination on the third ballot. Lincoln's campaign manager, David Davis, was credited with playing a substantial role in the convention outcome.

In an alternative view, Lincoln got the nomination as the result of a local scheme to pack the Wigwam with Lincoln supporters using counterfeit tickets.[2] This early example of Chicago politics was led by Chicago Mayor John Wentworth.[3]

Lincoln-Hamlin went on to defeat three other major tickets that year, including Democratic nominee Stephen A. Douglas, U.S. Senator from Illinois.

Ballot counts[]

The Republican National Convention met in mid-May, after the Democrats had been forced to adjourn the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina without a nominee and had not yet re-convened in Baltimore, Maryland. With the Democrats in disarray and with a sweep of the Northern states possible, the Republicans were confident going into their convention in Chicago. William H. Seward of New York was considered the front runner, followed by Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, and Missouri's Edward Bates.

As the convention developed, however, it was revealed that Seward, Chase, and Bates had each alienated factions of the Republican Party. Delegates were concerned that Seward was too closely identified with the radical wing of the party, and his moves toward the center had alienated the radicals. Chase, a former Democrat, had alienated many of the former Whigs by his coalition with the Democrats in the late 1840s, had opposed tariffs demanded by Pennsylvania, and critically, had opposition from his own delegation from Ohio. Bates outlined his positions on extension of slavery into the territories and equal constitutional rights for all citizens, positions that alienated his supporters in the border states and southern conservatives. German-Americans in the party opposed Bates because of his past association with the Know-Nothings.

Since it was essential to carry the West, and because Lincoln had a national reputation from his debates and speeches as the most articulate moderate, he won the party's nomination on the third ballot on May 18, 1860.

Presidential Ballot
Nominee Home State 1st 2nd 3rd 3rd "corrected"
William H. Seward New York 173.5 184.5 180 111.5
Abraham Lincoln Illinois 102 181 231.5 349
Simon Cameron Pennsylvania 50.5 2 0 0
Salmon P. Chase Ohio 49 42.5 24.5 2
Edward Bates Missouri 48 35 22 0
William L. Dayton New Jersey 14 10 1 1
John McLean Ohio 12 8 5 0.5
Jacob Collamer Vermont 10 0 - -
Benjamin F. Wade Ohio 3 0 - -
John M. Read Pennsylvania 1 0 - -
Charles Sumner Massachusetts 1 0 - -
John C. Fremont California 1 0 - -
Cassius M. Clay Kentucky - 2 1 1

After seeing how close Lincoln was to the 233 votes needed, Robert K. Enos, an 1860 Ohio delagate, was responsible for getting 3 fellow Ohio delagates to shift their 4 votes to Lincoln. There is a 5/19/1860 Chicago Press and Tribune article - "The Four Votes" and other accounts proving that fact. This triggered an avalanche towards Lincoln with a final count of 364 votes out of 466 cast.[4]

Senator Hannibal Hamlin of Maine was nominated for vice president, defeating Cassius M. Clay of Kentucky.

Vice Presidential Ballot
Nominee Home State 1st 2nd
Hannibal Hamlin Maine 194 367
Cassius M. Clay Kentucky 100.5 86
John Hickman Pennsylvania 57 13
Andrew H. Reeder Pennsylvania & Kansas 51 0
Nathaniel Banks Massachusetts 38.5 0
Henry W. Davis Maryland 8 0
Sam Houston Texas 6 0
William L. Dayton New Jersey 3 0
John M. Read Pennsylvania 1 0

The party platform clearly stated that slavery would not be allowed to spread any further, and it also promised that tariffs protecting industry would be imposed. The party promised a homestead law granting free farm land in the West to settlers. These provisions were highly unpopular in the South[5]

Candidate gallery[]


  1. Karamanski, Theodore J. (2005). "Wigwam". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved March 28, 2007. 
  2. Sautter, R. Craig (2005). "Political Conventions". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved March 28, 2007. 
  3. "A Convention of Compromise: 1860". Chicago Historical Society. 1999. Retrieved March 28, 2007. 
  4. Proceedings of the Republican national convention held at Chicago, May 16, 17 and 18, 1860
  5. Republican Party National Platform, 1860 Reported from the Platform Committee by Judge Jessup of Pennsylvania and adopted unanimously by the Republican National Convention held at Chicago on May 17, 1860. Broadside printing by The Chicago Press & Tribune, May, 1860