Sunday, November 06, 2011

The November 6 Elections, Especially 1860

Six dead presidents have been elected or re-elected on November 6 -- and no living ones, the most recent November 6 election being 1984, when the late President Reagan prevailed over former Vice President Walter Mondale in a very big way. There will be a "November 6 president" after November 6, 2012, however.

Other presidents elected on November 6 include Lincoln, Cleveland (first term), McKinley, Hoover, and Eisenhower. The election of 1900, which saw McKinley-Roosevelt win handily over Bryan-Stevenson, would have been a November 5 election, except for the fact that 1900 was not a leap year. In the Gregorian calendar, all years divisible by four are leap years except for years divisible by 100 -- such as 1800, 1900 -- that aren't themselves divisible by 400 -- such as 1600, 2000.

The election of 1860 was clearly the most momentous of the November 6 elections -- of any U.S. presidential election, it is easy to argue.

As Susan Schulten wrote in the New York Times, "Abraham Lincoln won a decisive victory on Nov. 6, 1860, with more than double the Electoral College votes of John C. Breckinridge, the runner-up. The election also sparked a crisis where 11 Southern states left the union, formed a new country and fell into a disastrous war with the North, all within six months of Lincoln’s win."

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