Book Review: The Election of 1860 Reconsidered


by A. James Fuller, editor

Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 2013. Pp. xii, 272. Illus., map, notes., index. $49.95. ISBN: 1606351486

Seven historians throw fresh light on what arguably was the most portentous election in American history.

Historian Fuller (Indianapolis) and his of his colleagues to take a fresh look at the most important election in American history.  The first four essays look at Lincoln as political organizer, Douglas’s personal campaign style, Breckinridge’s goal in the election, to throw the election into the House of Representatives, and John Bell as the last gasp of Whigism.  Other essays explore the ambivalent perspective of Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists on Lincoln and the Republicans, the relationship between ideology and turnout, a case study of Indiana that argues the election there was decided on local issue, the European – primarily British – perception of the campaign, and the historiography of the campaign.  The essays help throw new light on the dynamics of the election, and on the evolution of presidential campaigns.

This is a particularly useful work for anyone interested in the slavery/anti-slavery debate, the politics of the Civil War era, and the origins of the war itself.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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