Date in History: 1860

In 1860, in the most divisive and consequential election in American history, Abraham Lincoln became President of the United States, defeating the two Democratic candidates. In Jefferson County the election issues had been fought in the pages of the two local partisan newspapers – the Republican Standard of Fort Atkinson and the Democratic Jeffersonian of Jefferson.

In their campaign rhetoric Republicans emphasized the importance of limiting slavery and the unlikelihood of secession. Democrats, on the other hand, advocated leaving the South alone, thereby ensuring the Union. Though Lincoln won Jefferson County, it was only by a small margin. In fact, six of the townships in the county, including Jefferson and Watertown, actually went for the northern Democratic candidate Stephen Douglas.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 02/02/2004.