May 18, 1860: Abraham Lincoln nominated for president
Remember Honest Abe? He was nominated for president by the Republican National Party on May 18, 1860, along with vice presidential nominee Hannibal Hamlin. As America’s 16th president, Lincoln will forever be remembered as the man who abolished slavery. Hear more about how this day in history changed politics as we know it.
Born in Kentucky in 1809, Lincoln spent his time pre-presidency practicing law and representing the Whig party in Congress. In 1858, he held his first campaign for a Senate seat against Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas. Slavery was the hot topic of the debate, and Lincoln argued passionately against the abhorrent practice while Douglas stood in favor of it. Unfortunately, he lost the Lincoln-Douglas debates but gained a presidential nod in 1860.
By the time of the November election, Lincoln was head-to-head with Douglas again, as well as Southern Democratic nominee John C. Breckinridge and Constitutional Union nominee John Bell. This time, he defeated his political opponents and was elected as the first Republican president on November 6, 1860. His accomplishment also triggered the south’s secession from the union and the start of the Civil War.
On March 4, 1861, Lincoln was sworn into office. At this point, seven Southern states had already seceded from the rest of the country and had established the Confederate States of America. With Jefferson Davis as their new president, the American Civil War began only a month after Lincoln began his presidency. Known as America’s greatest president, Lincoln introduced the 13th amendment, managed his re-election campaign, and sought to restore unity in the United States. Sadly, he was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth during a play on April 14, 1865, and he passed away the next day. However, his spirit of equality for all lives on.