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Author Topic: A What If? for the election of 1860  (Read 8198 times)
Harry
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« on: December 13, 2003, 06:19:48 pm »
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With many of the recent presidential elections, there is a What If? section saying how another candidate could have won.
Well here's one I have discovered for 1860:

A shift of 50,137 (1.07% of the national total) votes from in New York from Lincoln to Douglas makes Douglas win the state.
With 152 electoral votes required now for a majority, it now stands:

Lincoln----1,815,771----145
Breckinridge----848,019----72
Douglas----1,430,339---47
Bell----590,901----39

At this point, the vote goes into the House of Representatives, between Breckinridge, Douglas, and Lincoln.
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2003, 06:56:29 pm »
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If the election WAS thrown to the House, I'm guessing that Lincoln would have been elected anyway. Because the House evidently went over to Republican control in 1861, and Galusha A. Grow (R) was Speaker of the House. However, just because the House was in Republican majority, doesn't mean that each of the state's delegations were also in Republican majority. And since it is the state delegations that elects the President, then you would have to look up and see which state delegations were controlled by Republicans in 1861. Probably no state delegations were controlled by Republicans in the south. And when you add them all up that's nearly 11 to 15 of the 33 state delegations.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2003, 06:58:57 pm by Demrepdan »Logged

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Harry
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2003, 07:54:00 pm »
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Well Breckenridge won 11 states.   The three that Bell won (TN, VA, KY) all had Breckinridge in close second and Lincoln not on the ballot.
That would have solidly given Breckinridge 14 votes.  MO and NJ would perhaps have voted for Douglas like their states did.  The would mean Lincoln would have to have 15 of the other 17 states vote for him.  Therefore, if only 3 chose Douglas, then Breckinridge may have found himself president.
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Gustaf
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2004, 04:18:41 pm »
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The interesting thing is, even if the three other major candidates had combined their votes, to reach 60% of the vote, Lincoln would still have won in the EC! That proves the point that the EC can give some really weird results...
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2004, 04:53:16 pm »
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The interesting thing is, even if the three other major candidates had combined their votes, to reach 60% of the vote, Lincoln would still have won in the EC! That proves the point that the EC can give some really weird results...
Here is a what if scenario for 1860 posted at the old board:

http://uselectionatlas.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/leip/ikonboard/topic.cgi?forum=7&topic=20
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Gustaf
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2004, 04:59:36 pm »
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The interesting thing is, even if the three other major candidates had combined their votes, to reach 60% of the vote, Lincoln would still have won in the EC! That proves the point that the EC can give some really weird results...
Here is a what if scenario for 1860 posted at the old board:

http://uselectionatlas.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/leip/ikonboard/topic.cgi?forum=7&topic=20

I'm just curious...where is the old forum, exactly? You people seem to be able to link to it whenever you want, but I would have thought that it would be gone, considering the fact that it's the "old forum".
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2004, 05:18:30 pm »
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Leip doesn't have it linked to the main page anymore, I just access it because I have it bookmarked.  Anyway, here is the link to the old board index:

http://uselectionatlas.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/leip/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi

You may want to bookmark it also.
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Gustaf
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2004, 05:20:17 pm »
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Leip doesn't have it linked to the main page anymore, I just access it because I have it bookmarked.  Anyway, here is the link to the old board index:

http://uselectionatlas.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/leip/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi

You may want to bookmark it also.

Thanks. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2004, 05:35:29 pm »
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No problem Gustaf, use it well.
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2004, 08:39:44 pm »
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Would Breckenridge have allowed the South to say "See 'yall later"?  He would have lost his base of support quite literally.
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2004, 10:19:31 pm »
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Unlike nowadays, it would have been the OLD house (with a Dem majority) voting in the presidency. Also note that it's not enough most state Delegations. You need a majority of them, so there's no chance Breckinridge could have become president. Likely a Douglas presidency would have been brokered after some rounds of unconclusive voting, maybe with a Hamlin vice-presidency. This wouldn't have prevented the Civil War by the way, just postponed it by a few months. Douglas died in 1861, of Tuberculosis I think.
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2004, 07:55:23 am »
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Unlike nowadays, it would have been the OLD house (with a Dem majority) voting in the presidency. Also note that it's not enough most state Delegations. You need a majority of them, so there's no chance Breckinridge could have become president. Likely a Douglas presidency would have been brokered after some rounds of unconclusive voting, maybe with a Hamlin vice-presidency. This wouldn't have prevented the Civil War by the way, just postponed it by a few months. Douglas died in 1861, of Tuberculosis I think.

Correction: The old house was hung, with 114 Republicans, 94 Democrats, 16 Opposition Party (=Constitutional Union), 6 American Party, 6 Independent Democrats, 2 Whigs, 1 Unionist and 3 independents.
Republicans could have counted on 16 State Delegation including Kansas, which was admitted after the General Election but sent a Representative for the rest of the Lame Duck term, northern Democrats on 2 (Illinois and probably Missouri), southern Democrats on 9, 2 (Kentucky and Tennessee) were controlled by the Opposition Party, which would have sought some compromise, Maryland would have been hung between Democrats (N?S? the problem is that none of them even ran for reelection and none of them fought in the Civil war) and American Party/Unionists, who would have voted for a Compromise, Texas and California would both have been hung between Breckinridge and Douglas, and in both Oregon and Delaware I'm not sure if the only Rep belongs to the Breckinridge or the Douglas camp. Both men had support there.
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2004, 06:57:25 pm »
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Unlike nowadays, it would have been the OLD house (with a Dem majority) voting in the presidency. Also note that it's not enough most state Delegations. You need a majority of them, so there's no chance Breckinridge could have become president. Likely a Douglas presidency would have been brokered after some rounds of unconclusive voting, maybe with a Hamlin vice-presidency. This wouldn't have prevented the Civil War by the way, just postponed it by a few months. Douglas died in 1861, of Tuberculosis I think.


Douglas did die in 1861 of typhoid, However this was partly because of the strenuous toll of several exertions he made in support of Lincoln in the border states to encourage them not to leave the union. In other words had he of actually became president he probably would of survived the four years.
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2004, 06:02:24 pm »
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Im sorry, but I just don't see South Carolina seceeding in 1860 if Lincoln loses the election.  Maybe a few years later, depending on what kind of legisation the Republican controlled Congress is passing, but not in 1860.
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2004, 06:57:51 am »
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Im sorry, but I just don't see South Carolina seceeding in 1860 if Lincoln loses the election.  Maybe a few years later, depending on what kind of legisation the Republican controlled Congress is passing, but not in 1860.

I'm not sure if there would have been a Republican controlled Congress after 1860 without the secessions.
I'm also not certain if they would have really seceded. There is no doubt, however, that many would have clamoured for it. Deep Southern Ideologues hated Douglas just as fervently as they hated the "Black Republicans". They would have accepted Bell, but the House can only choose between the top three EV getters, and he wouldn't have been one of them.
They had also threatened secession before, in 1850 and in 1832 (well, they threatened to stop paying taxes that years and to stop allowing the US Customs service to operate in the state. That counts as secession to me). Back then, Jackson threatened to squash them and they immediately backed down (and VP Calhoun resigned in protest), largely due to the fact that no other Southern state was ready to follow their example.
The reason I don't think they would have really seceded without a perceived chance of actually winning Independence is that they probably knew quite well that a Northern invasion into their cotton fields and rice paddys would have been the effective end to slavery in the state, no matter whether the Invaders intended it or not.
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2004, 07:35:11 am »
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I always found it funny that they got away with their secession and to this day even the most nonsympathetic historians seem to believe they had majority support.
There never was a popular majority for secession in the South. There was a popular majority for secession among SOuthern Whites, of course.
Check out these figures

Virginia 31% Slaves, 4% Free Blacks
15/65= 23%.
77% of Whites have to support secession for majority support if we imply that no Blacks did.

North Carolina 33% + 3%
14/64= 22%
78%

South Carolina 57% + 1%
No matter how many Whites support secession, they are always the minority.

Georgia 44% + less than 0,5% (I won't even mention the Free Blacks in the other states where they are under 0,5%)
5/55= 9%
91%

Florida 44% + 1%
5/55=9%
91%

Tennessee 25% + 1%
24/74=32%
68%

Alabama 45%
5/55=9%
91%

Mississippi 55%
No matter

Arkansas 26%
24/74=32%
68%

Louisiana 47%+3%
0/50=0%
100% (We may presume that some of Louisiana's Free Blacks supported secession, as some of them actually owned slaves. Make that 99% then)

Texas 30%
20/70=29%
71%

Texas is probably the only state in the Nation where a true majority favored secession, if you think of it in these terms. Arkansas *might* be  the other one.
The thought occured to me some time ago, but I only did the maths right now writing this post.
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« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2004, 10:24:39 am »
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I always found it funny that they got away with their secession and to this day even the most nonsympathetic historians seem to believe they had majority support.
There never was a popular majority for secession in the South. There was a popular majority for secession among SOuthern Whites, of course.
Check out these figures

Virginia 31% Slaves, 4% Free Blacks
15/65= 23%.
77% of Whites have to support secession for majority support if we imply that no Blacks did.

North Carolina 33% + 3%
14/64= 22%
78%

South Carolina 57% + 1%
No matter how many Whites support secession, they are always the minority.

Georgia 44% + less than 0,5% (I won't even mention the Free Blacks in the other states where they are under 0,5%)
5/55= 9%
91%

Florida 44% + 1%
5/55=9%
91%

Tennessee 25% + 1%
24/74=32%
68%

Alabama 45%
5/55=9%
91%

Mississippi 55%
No matter

Arkansas 26%
24/74=32%
68%

Louisiana 47%+3%
0/50=0%
100% (We may presume that some of Louisiana's Free Blacks supported secession, as some of them actually owned slaves. Make that 99% then)

Texas 30%
20/70=29%
71%

Texas is probably the only state in the Nation where a true majority favored secession, if you think of it in these terms. Arkansas *might* be  the other one.
The thought occured to me some time ago, but I only did the maths right now writing this post.

This might be me being stupid, but I don't get what the division and the final percentage are in these calculations.
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2004, 06:46:02 am »
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I assume that no Blacks were in favor of secession. (Except maybe in the tactical sense. They too may well have known that secession would lead to civil war and civil war would lead to emancipation.)
I then calculate what percentage of the Whites would have to be opposed to secession in order to take the number of those opposed including blacks to fifty percent of the state's population.
So if a state is 30% Black, 20% of the total population would have to be anti-slavery Whites. These make up 20/70=29% of the White population.
1 minus that percentage is the percentage of Whites who have to be pro-slavery in order for pro-slavery Whites to be a majority of the state's population.
Gee. Sounds more complicated than it is.
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2004, 10:07:00 am »
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I assume that no Blacks were in favor of secession. (Except maybe in the tactical sense. They too may well have known that secession would lead to civil war and civil war would lead to emancipation.)
I then calculate what percentage of the Whites would have to be opposed to secession in order to take the number of those opposed including blacks to fifty percent of the state's population.
So if a state is 30% Black, 20% of the total population would have to be anti-slavery Whites. These make up 20/70=29% of the White population.
1 minus that percentage is the percentage of Whites who have to be pro-slavery in order for pro-slavery Whites to be a majority of the state's population.
Gee. Sounds more complicated than it is.

Ah, now I get it. I agree that it's simple, but I didn't understand what the numbers stood for at first.
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