After the failure of the Charleston Convention, the Democratic Party scheduled another national convention with the hope of selecting a presidential candidate and adopting a platform. Taking a moderate stance, former Governor John Winston of Alabama recommended “the appointment of true, and tried, and discreet men, as Delegates to the Baltimore Convention, to be held on the 18th of June next.” Elaborating, the governor explained, as paraphrased in Huntsville’s Southern Advocate, that the “National Democratic party was the only power which could possibly prevent the country from passing into the hands of the Black Republicans.” At the Baltimore Convention, Stephen Douglas continued to reign as the favored candidate of most of the delegates, but John C. Breckenridge also found support among Democrats, especially southern radicals. Unable to agree on a candidate, the national party divided. Although many moderate Democrats in Alabama chose to support Douglas, other Alabamians decided to join a Constitutional Union Party. During the spring months, the Independent Monitor of Tuscaloosa urged “every true friend of his country to arouse from his lethargy and buckle on his armor for one more struggle to save the Constitution and the Union.” These Constitutional Unionists, the paper later reported, chose to abandon the Democratic Party because they believed “it to be as purely a sectional party as the Republicans, held together by the exclusive power of public plunder.” Another article, published in the Southern Advocate, stressed that a Constitutional Union Party would “teach the disruptionists an important fact -- … that the great body of the people are not with them in their disunion movement.” At the same time, the Constitutional Unionists hoped to “strengthen timid Democrats, who, though really opposed to disunionism, have not been able to muster courage enough to speak out against it, because of its supposed strength.” By the end of the summer, the Constitutional Unionists had developed their own political agenda, the Selma Platform, through which they opposed secession, but also proclaimed that the Constitution of the United States protected slavery in the federal territories and that the doctrine of popular sovereignty was unconstitutional. Refusing to back either Democratic presidential candidate, the Constitutional Unionists instead opted to throw their support behind John Bell.
Although the goal of moderate Democrats and Constitutional Unionists was to save the nation from a split, their various political factions ensured that three non-Republican candidates would appear on the Alabama ballots opposite Abraham Lincoln come November. So, with the southern vote divided and their political parties in shambles, Alabamians waited nervously for the fall election.