On election day 1860, a very divided country went to the polls. Lincoln got only 40% of the popular vote but defeated Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a U.S. senator for Illinois.
The election did not settle any of the differences.
By inauguration date on March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded, and the Confederate States of America had been formally established, with Jefferson Davis as its elected president.
One month later, the Civil War began when Confederate forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
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