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1856 Republican National Convention

Date: From 1856-06-17 to 1856-06-19

Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The 1856 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held from June 17 to June 19, 1856, in Philadelphia. It was the first national convention staged by the nascent Republican Party. Salmon P. Chase, William H. Seward, John C. Fremont, and John McLean emerged as the leading contenders for the presidential nomination. Chase and Seward ultimately withdrew their names from consideration. McLean appealed to nativists, conservatives, and former Whig members of the party, receiving substantial support in an informal ballot of convention delegates, but Fremont won the nomination on the first formal ballot. William L. Dayton received the nomination for vice-president, defeating Abraham Lincoln and other challengers. The party platform opposed slavery expansion and Mormonism, endorsed internal improvements and a transcontinental railroad, and urged that Kansas be admitted as a free state.

Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860, and 1864 (Minneapolis, MN: Charles W. Johnson, 1893); David M. Potter and Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (New York: Harper, 1976), 256-57; William E. Gienapp, The Origins of the Republican Party 1852-1856 (New York: Oxford University Press), 305-46; Philip C. Auchampaugh, "Campaign of 1856," Dictionary of American History , rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976), 1:420-21.