Presidential Elections and My Ancestors
I have heard many people say the ramifications of this year’s presidential election (2012) will rival that of the 1860 presidential election.
The United States presidential election of 1860 set the stage for the American Civil War. The nation had been divided throughout most of the 1850s on questions of states' rights and slavery in the territories. In 1860, this issue finally came to a head, fracturing the formerly dominant Democratic Party into Southern and Northern factions and bringing Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party to power without the support of a single Southern state.
Hardly more than a month following Lincoln's victory came declarations of secession by South Carolina and other states, which were rejected as illegal by the then-current President, James Buchanan and President-elect Abraham Lincoln.
Soon after, the Civil War began. (Apr 12,1861- May 9, 1865)
Where were my ancestors in 1860? Were they even living in the United States of America?
About 75% of my ancestors were living in America during the 1860 election. All of them were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were all living in the Utah territory. (Utah wouldn’t become a state until 1896.) Each family traveled there during the Mormon Migration beginning in 1847. I do not think that U.S. citizens living in the territories had the opportunity to vote. The Redd family previously lived in North Carolina and were slave owners until their conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They must have been kind to their former slaves because they spoke of them as lifelong friends. These friends chose ‘Redd’ as their freed last name and went with them to Utah.
My ancestors had conservative values; love God, be honest, work hard to be self-sufficient, stay out of debt, live your life with integrity and serve/respect others. They believed in electing people with these values to office. The values they taught have been passed on for generations. My husband and I raise our children in a Christ-centered home where we teach them to love one another and to serve others. A portion of each paycheck goes into savings for the future. Our house and cars are paid for and we have no debt.
About the author
Kathy, I can really appreciate your story from many different points of view. Isn't it wonderful to be free from debt and having the ability that it brings to serve and build others? As we face the fiscal cliff in this country I can see how today we are faced with such a challenge as in the election of 1860. Unfortunately we know that history repeats itself and future generations may look upon your story and the values you share as a cherished legacy empowering them in every aspect. Thank you for sharing with us!