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The 1860 Election in Pennsylvania


Download and copy the combined worksheets for this lesson.

1. Students will complete Worksheet 1: "Election of 1860" to review background information on the four candidates in the 1860 election from their textbooks, teacher and/or Source 1: 1860 Party Platforms.

2. Students should apply their understanding of the election to analyze and discuss the Source 2: "Dividing the National Map" cartoon as a class.

3. Teachers should then explain that Pennsylvania was an important state in the 1860 election because of its number of electoral votes and proximity to slave states. However, although Pennsylvania was a northern state, it was not clear that Lincoln would win its 27 electoral votes.

4. Working in groups, students should complete Worksheet 2: "Lincoln's Campaign Manager" and Worksheet 3: "Pennsylvania County Map". Students will use data from the Census Data for the Year 1860 found on the University of Virginia website linked from the Student Resources page, to suggest a campaign strategy and make predications about the counties in Pennsylvania the would be likely to support each candidate.

5. Each group should take turns explaining their strategy and explaining their predictions to the class.

6. Display Source 3: "1860 Election in Pennsylvania Map" and see which group was the most accurate. Discuss why Pennsylvania voted the way it did. The major issues for some Pennsylvanians were the protective tariff for iron and other manufacturers and centralized banking, both of which were planks in the Republican Party's 1860 platform. These issues interested workingmen as well as the industrialists. Consider that those who voted against Lincoln might have been merchants and farmers who opposed the protective tariff. Some residents might have feared that war would be the result of Lincoln's election and that their areas would become battlegrounds. Students should understand that with the exception of a few people, such as Thaddeus Stevens, slavery was not the major issue.

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