Election of 1860
The Point of No Return
Although the Kansas-Nebraska act had a great impact, the Election of 1860 was the point of no return as the Union could still be preserved but Lincoln’s victory ensured the South’s secession.
“But every man feels and knows that the safety of this Union depends upon the defeat of Lincoln.”
According to a Southern newspaper (Nashville, Tenn.), the safety of the Union still exists, thus the Union can still be preserved. However, only a Douglas victory can ensure this outcome. Because the Union is still intact according to those who will break it apart - the Southerners, yet Douglas loses the election, the election of 1860 is the point of no return for the start of the Civil War.
"Nashville Union and American. (Nashville, Tenn.)." Chronicling America. November 2, 1860. Accessed November 17, 2015. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038518/1860-11-02/ed-1/seq-2/.
THE UNION CAN STILL BE PRESERVED, YET ONLY DOUGLAS CAN KEEP IT TOGETHER
“the results of Lincoln’s election would be a national calamity”
If Lincoln is elected, the nation is sure to dissolve, as demonstrated by the Memphis Daily Appeal. The cause for secession would be Lincoln's election, but secession has not yet been determined. Because the South will only secede if Lincoln is elected, the election of 1860 is the point of no return for the Civil War.
"Memphis Daily Appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.)." Chronicling America. October 24, 1860. Accessed November 17, 2015. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045160/1860-10-24/ed-1/seq-2/.
“Douglas Elected by the Popular Vote - the Country Safe!”
As a Georgia newspaper falsely reports, the country was made safe from disunion after more people (supposedly) chose Douglas than over any other candidate. Despite the inaccuracy, the Southern joy is clear, that the country is now safe and unified due to Lincoln's presumed loss. This headline demonstrates how the Civil War can still be prevented under certain electoral circumstances, thus illustrating how Lincoln's election in 1860 was the point of no return.
"Augusta Constitutionalist. (Augusta, GA.)." Chronicling America. October 24, 1860. Accessed November 17, 2015. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045160/1860-10-24/ed-1/seq-2/.
“The 1860 election changed the country: six weeks after Lincoln’s election, South Carolina seceded from the Union"
As South Carolina quickly took action when the election didn’t go their way, the election was the point of no return. According to Green, Lincoln’s election was the determining factor in the South’s secession, and if Lincoln had not been elected then the South would not secede.
Green, Michael S. Lincoln and the Election of 1860. eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost). Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 2011. Accessed November 17, 2015.
WHY NOT THE KANSAS NEBRASKA ACT?
Act was “'fortunate - for the peace of the country, and the security of the Union”
As the Kansas-Nebraska Act was a step to secure the security of the Union, it could not be the point of no return to lead to civil war. Although the Act led to violence over slavery and was an important precursor to the Civil War, the Act was viewed as a positive step in slave states that would disagree to popular sovereignty, such as North Carolina.
"Weekly North Carolina Standard. (Raleigh, NC.)" Chronicling America. January 18, 1854. Accessed November 17, 2015. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84045030/1854-01-18/ed-1/seq-4/.