1856 United States elections

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1856 United States elections
Presidential election year
Election dayNovember 4
Incumbent presidentFranklin Pierce (Democratic)
Next Congress35th
Presidential election
Partisan controlDemocratic Hold
Popular vote marginDemocratic +12.2%
Electoral vote
James Buchanan (D)174
John C. Frémont (R)114
Millard Fillmore (A)8
1856 United States presidential election in California1856 United States presidential election in Oregon1856 United States presidential election in Texas1856 United States presidential election in Iowa1856 United States presidential election in Missouri1856 United States presidential election in Arkansas1856 United States presidential election in Louisiana1856 United States presidential election in Wisconsin1856 United States presidential election in Illinois1856 United States presidential election in Michigan1856 United States presidential election in Indiana1856 United States presidential election in Ohio1856 United States presidential election in Kentucky1856 United States presidential election in Tennessee1856 United States presidential election in Mississippi1856 United States presidential election in Alabama1856 United States presidential election in Georgia1856 United States presidential election in Florida1856 United States presidential election in South Carolina1856 United States presidential election in North CarolinaUnited States presidential election in Virginia, 18561856 United States presidential election in Maryland1856 United States presidential election in Delaware1856 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania1856 United States presidential election in New Jersey1856 United States presidential election in New York1856 United States presidential election in Connecticut1856 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1856 United States presidential election in Maryland1856 United States presidential election in Vermont1856 United States presidential election in New Hampshire1856 United States presidential election in Maine1856 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1856 United States presidential election in Maryland1856 United States presidential election in Delaware1856 United States presidential election in New Jersey1856 United States presidential election in Connecticut1856 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1856 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1856 United States presidential election in Vermont1856 United States presidential election in New HampshireElectoralCollege1856.svg
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1856 presidential election results. Red denotes states won by Frémont, blue denotes states won by Buchanan, and lilac denotes states won by Fillmore. Numbers indicate the electoral votes won by each candidate.
Senate elections
Overall controlDemocratic Hold
Seats contested21 of 62 seats[1]
Net seat changeRepublican +7[2]
House elections
Overall controlDemocratic Gain
Seats contestedAll 237 voting members
Net seat changeDemocratic +50[2]

The 1856 United States elections elected the members of the 35th United States Congress. The election took place during a major national debate over slavery, with the issue of "Bleeding Kansas" taking center stage.[3] Along with the 1854 election, this election saw the start of the Third Party System, as the Republican Party absorbed the Northern anti-slavery representatives who had been elected in 1854 under the "Opposition Party" ticket (consisting largely of former Whigs) as the second most powerful party in Congress. Minnesota and Oregon joined the union before the next election, and elected their respective Congressional delegations to the 35th Congress.

In the Presidential election, Democratic former Secretary of State James Buchanan defeated Republican General John Fremont and the American Party candidate, former President Millard Fillmore.[4] Buchanan swept the South and split the North with Fremont, while Fillmore won Maryland. Buchanan had defeated incumbent President Franklin Pierce (the first elected president to lose his party's presidential nomination) and Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois on the 17th ballot at the 1856 Democratic National Convention. Fremont defeated Supreme Court Justice John McLean at the 1856 Republican National Convention to take the Republican nomination. Fillmore's third party candidacy took over twenty percent of the popular vote,[4] the best popular vote showing by a third party until Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 candidacy.

In the House, Democrats won several seats to take the plurality, but narrowly missed taking the majority. The Republican Party established itself as the second largest party in the House, replacing the Opposition Party. The American Party lost numerous seats, but continued to maintain a presence in the House.[5] Democrat James Lawrence Orr won election as Speaker of the House.

In the Senate, Democrats won minor gains, maintaining their commanding majority. The Republican Party replaced the Opposition Party as the second largest party, while the American Party picked up a small number of seats.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Not counting special elections.
  2. ^ a b Congressional seat gain figures only reflect the results of the regularly-scheduled elections, and do not take special elections into account.
  3. ^ "Presidential elections". History.com. History Channel. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b "1856 Presidential Election". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present". United States Senate. Retrieved 25 June 2014.