Anyone who knows me at all or has had one of my classes knows that I am a history nerd; the greatest evidence of this fact is that I have a list of favorite elections. This list changes constantly, but the top ones have always remained constant: 1800, 1860, 1896, and then I dance around with 1968, 1840, and 1932 amongst others.

Recently I am starting to wonder if the 1856 election needs to make the top five. This election never draws attention as the men running are far from known men: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Stephen Douglas, John C. Freemont, and Millard Fillmore. Two of these men are presidents and yet most today still do not know their names. Even with these unknown men, I am starting to believe for our upcoming election, still three years away, 1856 may prove a telling election.

Country divided - but not as bad as Civil War

To understand my logic I need to give a quick background. For a few years now, I am frequently asked by students and the public if there has ever been a time in history where we were more divided. People always want to think their time is the worst. My quick answer is always yes, very much yes. I think we can see times when our nation was much more divided, so much more in fact that we fought a civil war.


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