Abraham Lincoln ran against Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas. Being the first Republican to become president in the history of the United States, Lincoln won with a mere 40 percent of the popular vote against his three opponents.
Born in Hardin County, Ky., on February 12, 1809, Lincoln was a lawyer and former Whig representative to Congress. He was the son of a Kentucky frontiersman and a mother who died when he was 10 years old. Lincoln went on to marry Mary Todd, with whom he had four sons.. In 1858, Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for senator, losing the election. But, it was his debates with Douglas that would help him develop a national reputation that contributed to his winning the presidency in 1860.