Alachua County Returns for Presidential Election of 1860

From: Office of Secretary of State, Election Returns by County, 1824-1926, Series S21

Alachua County Returns for Presidential Election of 1860

About This Document

The long sectional crisis of the 1850s culminated in the presidential election of 1860, which precipitated the secession of eleven states from the Union. In this critical election, Floridians could choose between John C. Breckinridge, the Southern Democratic candidate; Stephen A. Douglas, who represented northern Democrats, and John C. Bell, candidate for the newly-organized Constitutional Union Party. Breckinridge supported the Dred Scott Decision and the expansion of slavery into the territories, while Douglas supported the concept of Popular Sovereignty, by which the citizens of a territory could decide for themselves as to the status of slavery within their borders. John Bell's strongest support came from moderates in the Border States. He hoped to keep any candidate from winning a majority of electoral votes, thereby throwing the election into the House of Representatives, where a Union-preserving compromise might yet be reached.

Significantly, Floridians could not vote for Republican Abraham Lincoln, who was not on the ballot in any of the Deep South slave states. The hated "Black Republican" Party was believed by most southerners to advocate abolition and black equality, although Lincoln and his party were primarily interested in restricting the expansion of slavery in the territories.

Reproduced here are the 1860 presidential returns for Alachua County, which voted overwhelmingly for southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge. He would also win the statewide totals, with Bell a respectable second and Douglas a very distant third. Within days of the election of Lincoln, South Carolina called for a Secession Convention, and by the end of the year that state had left the Union. Florida was not far behind--in early January 1861 it became the third state to secede from the Union.

Transcript

We the undersigned E.H. Jordan, Judge of Probate, and A.A. Maulden and J. C. Gardner Assistants
do hereby Certify that the following is a correct list of votes received in the County of Alachua
on the 6th day of November AD 1860 at an Election held for Electors of president and
Vice President of the United States was as follows
For Geo W. Call, J.P. Anderson and J.M. Gorrie Presidential Electors for Breckinage & Lane received the
number of Five Hundred and Twenty Seven votes (527)
For I.H. Landrum, Wilk Call, and R.H. Hall Presidential Electors for Bell & Everett received the number
of One Hundred and Ninety five (195)
For Philip Turner, I.W. Culpepper and C.W. Jones Electors for Douglas & Johnson received the number
of Five votes (5)
 E.H. Jordan, Judge of Probate,
Gainesville Alachua County November 9th 1860 J.C. Gardner Assistants
A.A. Maulden