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Democratic Ticket
Presidential candidate: JAMES BUCHANAN, Minister to Great Britain
VP candidate: JOHN BRECKINRIDGE, former Kentucky Congressman
Popular votes: 1,836,072 (45.3%)
Electoral votes: 174
Republican Ticket
Presidential candidate: John Fremont, former California Senator
VP candidate: William Dayton, former New Jersey Senator
Popular votes: 1,342,345 (33.1%)
Electoral votes: 114
American Party ("Know-Nothing") Ticket
Presidential candidate: Millard Fillmore, former President
VP candidate: Andrew Jackson Donelson, former Minister to Germany
Popular votes: 873,053 (21.5%)
Electoral votes: 8
1856 US Electoral Map: How each state voted. Wisconsin's Choice: Fremont.

Election Facts

  • The extension of slavery into the West was the hot-button issue of this election and illuminated the division between North and South.
  • This election reflected the political firestorm that followed the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854.
  • The act repealed the anti-slavery provisions of the 1820 Missouri Compromise and allowed the citizens of the new Kansas and Nebraska territories to decide for themselves whether to make slavery legal.
  • Protests to the act led to the formation of the anti-slavery Republican Party in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin.
  • The Whig Party dissolved over the slavery issue. Its "Know Nothing" remnants sought to curb immigration and naturalization.
Pro-Fremont political cartoon, 1856.
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John C. Fremont. Frank Leslie's "Popular Monthly."
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James Buchanan.
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Millard Fillmore.
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New York's Tammany Hall bedecked with a Buchanan campaign banner. Frank Leslie's "Illustrated Newspaper," November 8, 1856.
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