Constitutional Union Party


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The remnants of the Whig Party decided not to support the Republican or either of the two Democratic nominees for President in the election of 1860. Vowing to preserve the Union at all costs, a group of Whig-minded congressmen met December 1859, which resulted in a nominating convention in Baltimore in May 1860. They were joined by elements of the rapidly disintegrating American Party, which has split into pro- and anti-slavery factions after the Dred Scott case.

Putting its support behind John Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massachusetts, the party had essentially no platform except to preserve the Union and uphold the Constitution. Its attitude towards the great divisive issues of the day was to simply ignore them.

In the November polling, the Constitutional Union Party did not receive 50% of the votes in any state, but due to the split between Southern and Northern Democrats, they received the electoral votes of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Their purpose disappeared when the election when the Southern states seceded.