1856 Illinois gubernatorial election

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Illinois gubernatorial election, 1856

← 1852 November 4, 1856 1860 →
  William.H.Bissel.jpg William Alexander Richardson - Brady-Handy.jpg BSMorris.jpg
Nominee William Henry Bissell William Alexander Richardson Buckner S. Morris
Party Republican Democratic Know Nothing
Running mate John Wood Unknown Unknown
Popular vote 111,466 106,769 19,088
Percentage 46.97% 44.99% 8.04%

Illinois governor election, 1856.svg
County Results

Bissell:      30-40%      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%      80-90%
Richardson:      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%      80-90%      90-100%
Morris:      40-50%

Governor before election

Joel Aldrich Matteson

Elected Governor

William Henry Bissell

The Illinois gubernatorial election of 1856 was the eleventh election for this office. Democratic governor Joel Aldrich Matteson did not seek re-election. Former Democratic Congressman William Henry Bissell was nominated by the newly formed Republican Party at the Bloomington Convention. Former Whig Mayor of Chicago Buckner S. Morris was nominated on the Know-Nothing Party ticket. This was the first election of a Republican governor in Illinois history. At this time in Illinois history the Lieutenant Governor was elected on a separate ballot from the governor. This would remain the case until the adoption of the 1970 constitution.


1856 gubernatorial election, Illinois
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican William Henry Bissell 111,466 46.97% +5.21%
Democratic William A. Richardson 106,769 44.99% -7.40%
Know Nothing Buckner S. Morris 19,088 8.04% N/A
Majority 16,381 10.62% -68.90%
Turnout 237,323 100.00%
Republican gain from Democratic Swing


  • Illinois Blue Book 1899
  • The Political Graveyard
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