The first nationwide Election Day was in 1848, and the first presidential election held on November 6 would have been in 1860. And that year's election may have been the most significant in American history, as it brought Abraham Lincoln to the White House and resulted in the slave states seceding from the Union.
This week in Newspaper Sunday we take a look back at items published on that particular Election Day. Americans 152 years ago had many of the same concerns we have today.
- New York Tribune, November 6, 1860: Horace Greeley's newspaper predicted a Lincoln victory, "unless Fraud should prevent, for Apathy will not."
- Cincinnati Daily Press, November 6, 1860: An Ohio newspaper hoped that Election Day would "pass off" quietly. It noted that individuals had made the previous "night hideous by their shouts for their favorite candidate."
- Cleveland Morning Leader, November 6, 1860: A pro-Lincoln paper noted that the campaign had ended with a "grand climax" as youthful Lincoln supporters, the Wide-Awakes, paraded through the city.
- The Richmond Dispatch, November 6, 1860: In a city that would become the Confederate capital, the newspaper expressed hope for an election "without disorder or irregularity."
Note: After accessing the links to the excerpts from the newspapers, clicking the "persistent link" on the excerpt page will display the entire page of the newspaper at the Chronicling America site of the Library of Congress.
Photograph: Candidate Abraham Lincoln, photographed by Preston Butler in August 1860/Library of Congress
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