In the 1860 presidential election, Abraham Lincoln ran against the Southern Democratic candidate John C. Breckinridge, Northern Democratic candidate Stephen Douglas and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell and, in the 1864 election, he ran against Democratic candidate George B. McClellan. Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States on November 6, 1860. He was the first Republican candidate to with a presidential election.
Lincoln first became noticed as a national political figure during his 1858 campaign for the Illinois senate, in which he ran against Douglas. This campaign is known for a series of debates known as the Lincoln-Douglas debates, in which Lincoln argued against expanding slavery and Douglas argued for the right of each state to decide. Lincoln lost the senate election but became the Republican nominee for president in 1860.
Lincoln won the presidential election of 1860, although he only received 40 percent of the popular vote. The southern states had threatened to secede if a Republican won the presidency. Lincoln's win triggered the beginning of the secession and, by his inauguration in March of 1861, seven states had left the Union to form the Confederate States of America. One month later, the Civil War began. In 1863, Lincoln emancipated the slaves.
Lincoln was reelected in 1864 during the Civil War. Electoral votes from 25 states were included; none of the 11 seceded states were counted. In April of 1865 Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, ending the war. On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.