New Yorkers at the polls on Election Day 1856

There’s a lot going on in this sketch, giving us a glimpse of what New Yorkers (well, New York men, that is) experienced when they went to the polls for the 1856 election.

This pre–Civil War election presented three candidates. Democrats backed James Buchanan, the Republicans supported Californian John Fremont, and former president and New Yorker Millard Fillmore was the man representing the American Party–aka the Know Nothing Party.

New York went for Fremont, but Buchanan won the country.

[Sketch: The NYPL Digital Collection]

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6 Responses to “New Yorkers at the polls on Election Day 1856”

  1. mar Says:

    i believe it’s the Know Nothing party…

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Buchanan was also the 1st gay president, at the time.

  3. Beth Says:

    Interesting, Mick, I wasn’t aware that Buchanan was gay.

  4. JM Ruby Says:

    The state went to Frémont, but as this is a blog about the city a clarification is in order–New York County, then coextensive with Manhattan, went strongly for Buchanan, as did most of the rest of what would become the five boroughs. Nassau County, perhaps including the part that later became Queens, went to Fillmore. Few areas downstate were interested in Republican abolitionism, still strongly associated culturally with New Englanders and their cousins who had settled upstate New York and the upper Midwest.

    The city would remain Democratic throughout the Civil War, voting against Lincoln both times, and kept on rejecting Republicans, with a few exceptions.

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