Aftermath of the Election of 1860: Should We Stay or Should We Go? - The election of Abraham Lincoln in November of 1860 threw the American South into turmoil. Radical “fire-eaters” believed the time had finally come for the South to assert its independence and break away from the Union. Moderate voices pleaded for caution and thought before taking such a momentous action. This lesson places students in the center of the debate. Using period newspapers and primary sources, students must decide for themselves where they stand, and whether the Union shall be preserved.