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Lincoln’s Foils

March 6, 2019

John Breckinridge was from Kentucky, but the people of Kentucky did not vote for him in the 1860 Presidential election.  They voted for John Bell who was from Tennessee.  Kentucky did not secede from the Union, but Breckinridge joined the Confederacy anyway.

John Bell tried to stop Tennessee from seceding, but he was unsuccessful.  Bell was the oldest of the 1860 candidates.  When Tennessee seceded, he was in his mid-60’s.  After that he took no part in the Civil War.  Bell’s Vice-Presidential running mate was even older.  Edward Everett became the featured speaker at the dedication of a military cemetery in 1863.  Despite his age he had the energy to speak for more than two hours.  His speech was followed by Lincoln’s two-minute Gettysburg Address.

Tennessee was the last state to secede and the first to be readmitted to the Union.  Andrew Johnson had been its elected governor from 1853 through 1857.  Because Johnson had remained loyal to the Union, Lincoln appointed him military governor in 1862.  In 1864 Johnson was elected Vice President, and in 1865 he succeeded to the Presidency when Lincoln was assassinated.  There had been a plot to murder Johnson as well, but his would-be assassin lacked resolve.

Stephen Douglas was from Illinois, but the people of Illinois did not vote for him in 1860.  Despite receiving the second-most popular votes in that election, he won the Electoral votes of only one state.  He was at Lincoln’s inauguration and held Lincoln’s hat while the new President delivered his first inaugural address.




One Comment
  1. Liberating Eastern Tennessee was always a priority for Lincoln.

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