- Things *were* done differently in 1860. :>)
I have scanned images of the Breckinridge ballot for Virginia and the four
ballots for Maryland. About three megs altogether. If any one wants to see
them, let me know individually and I will forward jpeg files.
Electors mattered a great deal in the mid-nineteenth century: Lincoln was a
Whig elector in Illinois at least once and campaigned hard, making speeches
for his candidate.
The ballots had the electors� names on them, as well as the candidates�. The
ballots were supplied by the party, each party using a different color (my
scans are in black and white) and one had to vote a straight ticket. By the
1880s, a voter could take a �pastie,� a little strip of paper with glue on
the back, and cover the names of those for whom he did not want to vote.
Presidential candidates were suppose to be modest: when Lincoln went to vote
in Springfield, at the polling place he took a big pair of scissors and cut
his name off his ballot. Newspapers reported suspected cases of voter fraud:
for instance, a ticket headed by Douglas� name but with Republican electors
listed, and vice versa.
In Virginia, state elections had been held in October, so all they were
voting on was president and congress. And the actual vote was viva voce, out
loud. The sheriff stood on the country court house steps and called out,
�Robert Huddleston.� Then, assuming I was in the crowd � and everyone was �
I would look at my ballot and call back my choices. Is it any wonder that
there were few Lincoln votes cast in Virginia?
In Maryland, the state elections had been held in October and the
congressional elections were scheduled for November 1861, since the new
congress would not meet until December 1861. A number of states voted for
congress in the odd numbered year � that was one reason Lincoln held off the
special session of Congress that he called in the aftermath of Sumter until
July 4, so that the states could all get their new congressmen elected.
Maryland held its special congressional election on June 13, 1861.
California�s new members did not even arrive until December �61.
All Marylanders were voting for on November 6, 1860 were presidential
The ballots themselves, scanned from a picture book history of Maryland in
the Civil War, are interesting in what they say � and don�t say � about the
candidates� beliefs. We can get too simplistic about equating overall votes
into support or opposition to the secession, forgetting, for instance, that
both Daniel Sickles and Benjamin Butler voted for John C. Breckinridge in
The four Maryland ballots all have the names of the presidential and vice
presidential candidates on them, although there are no pictures of the
candidates themselves. But the ballots do contain some interesting campaign
slogans and pictures:
Breckinridge-Lane had the motto �The Constitution, the Union, and the
Equality of the States� with a picture of George Washington below. Nothing
about secession there!
Bell-Everett wanted to make certain everyone knew when to show up (a la the
e-mail joke of last week end!) by stating �Maryland State Ticket/Election,
Tuesday, November 6th, 1860.� Below was a picture of � George Washington and
the motto �The Union, the Constitution, and the Enforcement of the Laws.�
The Douglas-Johnson ballot started with a party name, �National Democratic
Nominations� and then a graphic of a tree [of liberty?] old Hickory�s
picture on one side and a harp [! � trying for the Maryland Irish vote?] on
the other. A banner connected them with the motto �Jackson and Liberty.�
And the Lincoln-Hamlin ballot also started with a party name: �Republican
Ticket.� Beneath were two hands clasping [for the Union?] and resting on the
hands is a wing-spread eagle holding in its beak a streamer with the
wording, �In Union There is Strength.�
JUDY AND BOB HUDDLESTON
10643 Sperry Street
Northglenn, CO 80234-3612