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1856 Republican Presidential Campaign Poster

1856 Republican Presidential Campaign Poster

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the widespread violence in the Kansas Territory contributed to the demise of the Second Party System of Whigs and Democrats that had dominated American electoral politics for nearly two decades. Many northern Democrats parted ways with the southern slaveholders that dominated their party in order to oppose the extension of slavery to the West. Some joined with anti-slavery Whigs like Abraham Lincoln to form the new Republican Party, which organized its platform around the idea of a West without the peculiar institution. In 1856 the new political organization nominated its first candidate for the presidency, the famed western explorer John C. Fremont. While Fremont only collected significant vote totals in the northern states, his success in these populous regions suggested that a party lacking support in the South might still fare well in national politics.

For more information about politics in the 19th century, please look at Lincoln/Net's Getting the Message Out! National Political Campaign Materials, 1840-1860 Web site.

Permission: University of Chicago.
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project