The collapse of the old Whig party and the rise of the Republican party between 1850 and 1860 to challenge Democrat party and win the 1860 election is something that defies explaination. The collapse of the Whig party was for a reason. The rise of the Republican party filled a gap so there would not be just one political party.
But how did the republican party get so powerful so quick?
Another interesting side light is that the Whig party presidential candidate in 1850 was none other than our old friend general Winfield Scott, hero of Mexico, and close firend and advisor of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.