The Rail-Splitter Surprise: Abraham Lincoln and the Presidential Election of 1860

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t always the beloved household name he is today. In the 1860 presidential election, Lincoln was an underdog in a crowded field of better-known Republican candidates attempting to earn their party’s nomination. With compelling speeches about his platform, photographs and stories that introduced him to the country, and a “Rail Splitter” nickname that drew on his humble roots, Lincoln defied expectations when he won the Republican nomination and the national contest in November.

In The Rail-Splitter Surprise: Abraham Lincoln and the Presidential Election of 1860, visitors will discover how Lincoln emerged as a viable presidential candidate to lead the nation during a period of divisiveness that would result in the Civil War. Materials on view include editorial cartoons, contemporary political speeches, campaign literature, and portraiture of Lincoln from the 1860 election season.

The exhibition is on view August 27 - December 13, 2024, in the Lincoln Exhibition Case, which is located outside the Special Collections Gallery in Morris Library on the University of Delaware’s Newark campus. It can be viewed during Morris Library’s operating hours. Admission is free.

Exhibitions Free History & Culture Schools & Universities Northern Delaware

Plan Your Visit

Schedule & Tickets

  • Tuesday, August 27 through Friday, December 13
  • FREE!
  • learn more

Venue

University of Delaware, Morris Library
181 South College Avenue
Newark, DE 19717

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