1856 Election Results Buchanan vs Freemont

The passing of the Kanas Nebraska Act in 1854 brought an end to the Whig party. It also forged the creation of new parties. The act was highly divisive. It gave Kansas and Nebraska the right to decide whether or not to allow slavery in their borders. The result was a mini civil war fought in Kansas, between opponents and supporters of slavery. The Whig party had always been divided between Northern opponents of slavery and Southern slavery supporters. The Whig party fell apart, as the central divide in the United States became slavery. This led to the founding of two new parties: the Republican party and the American Party. The Republican party was founded in 1854. The main goal of the Republican party was to stop the expansion of slavery. The American party, otherwise known as the "Know Nothing" Party, was founded in 1855. The main goal of the American party was to stop immigration.

The Democrats met in Cincinnati in June 1856. President Pierce hoped to be nominated for a second term. That was not going to happen. Instead, the Democrats settled on James Buchanan. His major appeal was the fact he had been abroad during the previous few years. Buchanan had not been involved in any of the controversy surrounding the Kanas Nebraska Act. Buchanan was nominated unanimously on the 17th ballot. The Democratic platform, supported the compromise of 1850, opposed federal interference in slavery, and supported the building of the transcontinental railroad.

Buchanan had two opponents in the election; John Fremont of the newly organized Republican party, and former President Millard Fillmore of the Know-Nothing party.

The Republicans opposed the extension of slavery. They held Pierce responsible for the violence in Kansas at the time. The Know-Nothing Party consisted of those opposed to immigration and to Catholic influence. Pierce had a lock on the South, so the fight was over the Northern vote.

The slogan of the Republican party in the candidate was "Free Speech, Free Press, Free Soil, Free Men, Fremont and Victory!" The Democrats claimed the South would not stand for a Fremont victory and would secede. In addition, they claimed that Fremont was a Catholic (which he was not, although he was married in a church). That rumor caused Fremont the loss of substantial support. Pierce narrowly won the election. Fillmore came in third he won 21.6 percent, the highest percentage vote received by a third party in the 19th century.

Democratic Convention

 

State results in 1856

Popular Results in 1856

Alabama James Buchanan 46,739 62.1 John Fremont 0 0 Millard Fillmore 28,552 37.9
Arkansas James Buchanan 21,910 67.1 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 10,732 32.9
California James Buchanan 53,342 48.4 John Fremont 20,704 18.8 Millard Fillmore 36,195 32.8
Connecticut James Buchanan 35,028 43.6 John Fremont 42,717 53.2 Millard Fillmore 2,615 3.3
Delaware James Buchanan 8,004 54.8 John Fremont 310 2.1 Millard Fillmore 6,275 43.0
Florida James Buchanan 6,358 56.8 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 4,833 43.2
Georgia James Buchanan 56,581 57.1 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 42,439 42.9
Illinois James Buchanan 105,528 44.1 John Fremont 96,275 40.2 Millard Fillmore 37,531 15.7
Indiana James Buchanan 118,670 50.4 John Fremont 94,375 40.1 Millard Fillmore 22,356 9.5
Iowa James Buchanan 37,568 40.7 John Fremont 45,073 48.8 Millard Fillmore 9,669 10.5
Kentucky James Buchanan 74,642 52.5 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 67,416 47.5
Louisiana James Buchanan 22,164 51.7 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 20,709 48.3
Maine James Buchanan 39,140 35.7 John Fremont 67,279 61.3 Millard Fillmore 3,270 3.0
Maryland James Buchanan 39,123 45.0 John Fremont 285 0.3 Millard Fillmore 47,452 54.6
Massachusetts James Buchanan 39,244 23.1 John Fremont 108,172 63.6 Millard Fillmore 19,626 11.5
Michigan James Buchanan 52,136 41.5 John Fremont 71,762 57.2 Millard Fillmore 1,660 1.3
Mississippi James Buchanan 35,456 59.4 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 24,191 40.6
Missouri James Buchanan 57,964 54.4 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 48,522 45.6
New Hampshire James Buchanan 31,891 45.7 John Fremont 37,473 53.7 Millard Fillmore 410 0.6
New Jersey James Buchanan 46,943 47.2 John Fremont 28,338 28.5 Millard Fillmore 24,115 24.3
New York James Buchanan 195,878 32.8 John Fremont 276,004 46.3 Millard Fillmore 124,604 20.9
North Carolina James Buchanan 48,243 56.8 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 36,720 43.2
Ohio James Buchanan 170,874 44.2 John Fremont 187,497 48.5 Millard Fillmore 28,121 7.3
Pennsylvania James Buchanan 230,772 50.1 John Fremont 147,963 32.1 Millard Fillmore 82,202 17.8
Rhode Island James Buchanan 6,680 33.7 John Fremont 11,467 57.8 Millard Fillmore 1,675 8.5
Tennessee James Buchanan 69,704 52.2 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 63,878 47.8
Texas James Buchanan 31,995 66.6 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 16,010 33.4
Vermont James Buchanan 10,569 20.9 John Fremont 39,561 78.1 Millard Fillmore 545 1.1
Virginia James Buchanan 90,083 60.0 John Fremont - 0 Millard Fillmore 60,150 40.0
Wisconsin James Buchanan 52,843 43.8 John Fremont 67,090 55.7 Millard Fillmore 580 0.5