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Washington DC - National Museum of American History: Stephen A. Douglas 1860 National Democratic Ticket

In 1860 the Democratic Party split over the issue of slavery. Northern Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas for president. His platform called for residents of each territory to decide whether to permit slavery. Southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckinridge and called for slavery’s expansion into the West. Members of the new Constitutional Party tried to avoid taking any controversial positions, and simply promised to maintain the Constitution, the Union, and the laws. Their nominee was John Bell. Lincoln, the Republican candidate, won the election by carrying the North, but received less than 40 percent of the national popular vote.


This National Democratic Ticket was for Stephen A. Douglas and his Vice Presidential candidate, Herschel V. Johnson. It was a gift to the Smithsonian of Anthony E. Starcevic in 1960.


Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life, was on exhibit in 2009 as part of the Smithsonian-wide celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The exhibition showcased more than 60 historical treasures associated with Lincoln's life.


The National Museum of American History (NMAH), administered by the Smithsonian Institute, collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. The museum, which first opened in 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology, is located on the National Mall in one of the last structures designed by McKim, Mead & White. It was renamed in 1980, and closed for a 2-year, $85 million renovation by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP from 2006 to 2008.


The Smithsonian Institution, an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its shops and its magazines, was established in 1846. Although concentrated in Washington DC, its collection of over 136 million items is spread through 19 museums, a zoo, and nine research centers from New York to Panama.

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Taken on June 5, 2009