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Lincoln’s Team of Rivals

As smaller political parties were evolving into what was to become the modern Republican party, each faction, representing differing viewpoints on slavery and federal power, had a favorite son in the presidential election of 1860. By the time of the Republican party convention, three men representing these factions emerged as party favorites: N.Y. Sen. William Seward, Ohio Gov. Salmon P. Chase and Missouri judge Edward Bates. That all three lost the presidential nomination to a country lawyer named Abraham Lincoln was the first surprise of 1860; that Lincoln won the general election and then appointed all three of his Republican rivals to his cabinet was the second. Lincoln later added a Democrat — Edwin Stanton — as his Secretary of War. Lincoln’s so-called “team of rivals” has come to be seen as a watershed political moment; as Lincoln himself explained to newspaper reporter, he felt had no right to deprive the country of its strongest minds simply because they sometimes disagreed with him.

1860-01-01 00:00:00

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