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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > December 2016 > The way we were

The way we were

Extracts from memoirs and diaries, chosen by Ian Irvine

Presidential transition in a divided United States

After November elections, the new US President is installed in January—but before the Constitutional Amendment of 1933 the transition lasted until March. In the past this long interregnum could prove fateful when the country was ill at ease. On 6th November 1860, Abraham Lincoln (below) was elected president, the candidate of the Republican Party (founded in 1854), which opposed slavery in new states. His election caused immediate uproar in the Southern slave-owning states and threats of secession. Meanwhile President James Buchanan, a Democrat, remained in the White House until Lincoln’s inauguration on 4th March 1861.

© IAN DAGNALL / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
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In Prospect’s December issue: Sam Tanenhaus argues that Donald Trump was born to be a campaigning demagogue, but will he be too bored to rule? Ed Miliband and Michael Gove debate whether parliament should have a binding vote on the terms of Brexit and Christian Wolmar examines the driverless car delusion. Also in this issue: James Harkin examines the situation in Syria, focussing on Raqqa Ruth Dudley Edwards explores the battle in Ireland since the UK’s decision to leave the EU—will the border become a division? And Michael White looks at the life of Alan Johnson, the Labour MP and former postie.
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