The Democrats managed to get 152 Electoral Votes in 1860, just barely winning. The Republicans came in second, and would have won, if a few things had gone differently. The southern democrats came in third, only winning four states and 23 electoral votes, but impacting the next four years greatly. The Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln and Martin van Buren, van Burens abolitionist tendencies scared the Democrats, and the Southern Democrats left the Democratic party, forming the southern Democrats, who siphoned votes from the Democrats. The Constitutional Union managed to Louisiana and Michigan, each by barely over 30%.
When Stephen Douglas came into office, there was some fear of the Southern Democrats leaving the Democrats permanently. Douglas was urged by his party to come up with some sort of compromise to prevent the Southern Democrats from leaving their party. John Bullock Clark, of Missouri, which had southern and northern tendencies, came up with what would be known as the Clark Amendment. It said “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
This was passed on July 16, 1861, less than six months after President Douglas’ inauguration. With that. The threat of the Democratic parties breakup was effectively nonexistent. Tragedy struck when, on June 3, 1862, Stephen A. Douglas passed away, and vice-president Herschel V. Johnson came into office, leaving vacant the office of vice-president.
He was a decent President, but, the Democratic party lost control of Senate in 1863, when the Republicans took over. In a few places, especially in the south, the Constitutional Union Party actually managed to gain a few seats.