On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States.
A few months before, Mr. Lincoln got only 40% of the popular vote but defeated Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a U.S. senator from Illinois.
The election did not settle any of the differences.
On inauguration day, seven states seceded. A bit later, the Confederate States of America were established with Jefferson Davis as its elected president.
One month later, the Civil War began when Confederate forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina.