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By the time of the 1860 presidential election the country was in a state of turmoil There were profound differences in the views of citizens over the future of our nation Many of these differences were strictly based along sectional lines The division between North and South had never been so apparent On May 15 1860 the Republican Party held its convention in Chicagos Wigwam known for its box-like structure The front runner for the nomination was William H Seward of New York Surprisingly this popular political figure was passed over for the lesser-known Abraham Lincoln of Illinois Seward probably the most likely candidate believed the nomination was his to win His standing as the odds-on favorite seemingly worked against him because he was the most susceptible to criticism Following his loss for the US Senate Lincoln won supporters through a year-long campaign all over the North By early 1860 numerous politicians were obligated to Lincoln for his support Also on Lincolns side were hard working campaign managers and supporters who were prepared to gain him votes He emerged victorious on the third ballot The Republican Party platform was against the westward expansion of slavery yet opposed raids such as John Browns Harpers Ferry incident The party only looked to stop slavery from reaching the territories They did not wish to end this peculiar institution as many called it but rather weaken it through non-slavery economic policies Then they believed the South would be forced to give up on continuing slavery in years to come These policies would focus on attracting Northeastern businessmen and Western farmers through a transcontinental railroad a protective tariff and a Homestead Act which would promise to give free land to settlers if they moved west Also at the convention Hannibal Hamlin a former Democrat from Maine was chosen to run with Lincoln as his vice president On April 23 the Democratic Party had its convention
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