Grant by Ron Chernow:
On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president in a vote full of troubling omens. Besides winning less than 40 percent of the popular vote, he did not win a single vote in the Deep South, where his name failed to appear on the ballot; he carried every northern state, except for New Jersey, where he managed a split with Douglas. Almost universally underrated, Lincoln was deemed a mediocrity at best, a coarse bumpkin from the backwoods. Grant’s fortuitous move to Illinois on the eve of the election had monumental consequences, conveniently situating him in the president’s home state and overtly pro-Union northern Illinois. It also placed him in the district of Congressman Elihu B. Washburne, an emphatic Lincoln supporter. Had Grant remained in Missouri, riven by internal strife, he would never have enjoyed the same chance for rapid advancement in the coming war.