Pamunkey River

Pamunkey River
The Pamunkey River in 1864

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The 1860 Election

In honor of our current campaign season I am going to focus on historic elections in New Kent over the next few months. And what better place to start then one of the most important and contentious elections in the nation's history, the election of 1860. 1860 saw four major candidates contending for the country's top honor: Abraham Lincoln of Illinois as candidate for the relatively Republican Party, John Breckinridge of Kentucky as the candidate of a predominately southern faction of the Democratic Party, Stephen Douglas (of debate fame and also of Illinois) the nominee of another faction of the Democrats, and finally John Bell of Tennessee as the candidate of the new formed Constitutional Union Party. The Constitutional Union Party was a political way station for many Whigs who no longer had a party. New Kent along with much of the Peninsula was a Whig bastion.

John Bell                   264      60.27%

John Breckinridge       172     39.27%

Stephen Douglas           2     0.46%

Abraham Lincoln            0

To give you some idea of turnout, New Kent in the 1860 census had a white male population of 1092 of whom roughly 600 were of voting age. With 438 votes cast that gives a turnout of about 75%.

Returns from the Richmond Daily Enquirer of December 24, 1860.