150 years ago today Stephen Douglas, the emanate Northern politician, died. Douglas was from Illinois like Lincoln, and defeated him in a race for the Senate seat after the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. He was the candidate for president for the Northern Democratic party in 1860, but lost to Lincoln. The popular vote was split between four candidates in such a way so that Douglas came second in popular votes, but only carried 1 ½ states in electoral votes. Lincoln actually won the election with only about 40% of the popular vote.
Douglas was called Little Giant, because although he was short, he was very important in politics. He was one of the most important senators in the 1850s, and was responsible for the passage of several important bills. Even though he was defeated by Lincoln, he later encouraged his supporters to support him. But Douglas died of typhoid today at the age of only 48.
If Douglas had defeated Lincoln in the election, history would have taken a different term. The South probably would not have seceded, and if they did, Herschel V. Johnson, a Georgian who would have became president after Douglas's death, probably would have let them. There would have been no Civil War, and America would have been allowed to split in peace.