Explain what appealed to northern voters about the Republican party and how this led to Abraham Lincoln's victory in the 1860 presidential contest.

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Growing Republican popularity was demonstrated during the Dred Scott v. Sanford case in 1857, three years before Lincoln won the presidency. The incumbent president James Buchanan advised Robert Grier, a Supreme Court Justice, to vote in support of upholding slavery. 

Although he was a Northerner, Buchanan sympathized with the Southerners, especially with regards to the slavery issue. However, his intervention in the Supreme Court decision was met with harsh criticism in the North. The attempted meddling was so unpopular that he refused to seek his reelection. The Republican Party, on the other hand, was growing in popularity. 

The party managed to secure control of Congress, and in 1860 they took control of the Executive under President Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln supported the view to stop the expansion of slavery into other States. His position was received well by the Northerners, but the Southerners saw it as an anti-slavery move. Abraham Lincoln rode on the growing popularity of the Republican Party and the divisions in the Democratic Party by pro and anti-slavery actors.

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Northern voters were interested in the planks of the Republican Party that came from the earlier Free Soil Party, which had existed in the 1840s and 1850s. This party, whose ideas became part of the Whig Party and then the Republican Party, advocated stopping the expansion of slavery.

The Free Soil Party wanted to keep the country free for economic development along capitalist lines, but adherents of the party did not want to immediately abolish slavery where it existed. Instead, they reasoned, slavery would eventually die out if slave-based economies had to compete with an industrializing northern economy.

The Free Soil Party was not particularly committed to abolitionism on moral grounds, though over time, the Republican Party (and Lincoln) came around to the idea that slavery was an evil that had to be destroyed. This aspect of the Republican Party—keeping the US economy open for free labor—appealed to many Northern voters. They were also interested in the idea of countering the power of the slave-owning north, which compelled them to vote for Lincoln in 1860. 

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Several aspects of the Republican Party platform appealed to Northern voters. First, the party took a firm position against the expansion of slavery into the territories of the West. While many—perhaps even most—Northerners would not have favored emancipation of the South's millions of enslaved people, the institution was becoming more unpopular in the North with every passing year. Many Northerners came to believe with justification that a "slave power" conspiracy was dominating national politics, and the Republicans were popular because they resisted the expansion of slavery, the key policy demand of Southern congressmen. Republicans argued that the "normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom," a position that resonated not just with anti-slavery voters, but also with white men who feared their economic prospects were threatened by slavery. This was a crucial aspect of what was known as "free labor" ideology, which was the foundation of the Republican platform in 1860.

While slavery was the crucial issue in the election of 1860, the Republicans also favored other policies that appealed to many Northern voters. The Republicans advocated higher tariffs and a robust plan for internal improvements that included federal support for a transcontinental railroad, which they described as "imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country." These measures were popular with powerful business interests in the North, but were generally opposed—especially the tariff—in the South. Ironically, Southern states made many of these business policies, long hamstrung by their opposition, possible with secession. 

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