Rise of the Republican Party in the 1850s

The Republican Party was formed after the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854. This Act allowed individual states to decide whether they would be a free or slave state. The party become very popular in the North. The policies that made them popular included:

  • supporting the Union and strong central government
  • being opposed to slavery spreading, especially into the new lands that were opening up in the West
  • supporting business and industry
  • supporting westward expansion but for free settlers, not settlers with slaves
  • supporting the building of a railway that would stretch across the continent. This would help westward expansion and help trade

Unpopularity in the South

The Republican Party were not popular in the South. Southerners believed that they wished to abolish slavery.

In the 1860 election the Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln won all the Northern states.

In the South, Lincoln was very unpopular. His name did not even appear in some of the ballot papers and he won no seats. This widened the divide between the North and South. Many in the South now felt that they had to secede from the North .