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Linoln's Politics in the 1840's

Lincoln in the Illinois House & U.S. Congress         1840 Election                Presidents during the 1840's                    The Mexican War

Abraham's First Experiences in Illinois Politics--New Salem before moving to Springfield

Abraham's First Political Speech (of importance)

from Geneology Trails by Otto R. Kyle

In June or July of 1830, right after moving into Illinois, a 22 year old Lincoln would go bare-foot into the downtown area of the new square in Decatur (Macon County) Illinois.  John Hanks and others witnessed this speech by the young Lincoln.  It has been said by Hanks and others that the subject of Abraham's speech was improvements and furthering the use of the Sangamon as a route of travel for Illinois.  Two other politicians were in Decatur to give their on versions of politics in Illinois.  Go Here to read about this first "stump" speech.

Excerpts from Lincoln Digitization Project at Lincoln/Net by Dr. R.D. Monroe

. . . In 1832 Lincoln put his popularity in his adopted hometown to the test, running for the Illinois General Assembly. He declared his candidacy in a March,1832 statement in which he pledged to support internal improvements and education. The young Lincoln proclaimed that his ambition was to be "truly esteemed of my fellow men," and he closed on a characteristically lugubrious note. Lincoln pledged to do his utmost to repay the voters' favor if they conferred it upon him, "But if the good people in their wisdom shall see fit to keep me in the background, I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined."  He would not get elected in this election.  

. . . in 1834, Lincoln, age 24 runs and wins a seat in the Illinois General Assembly as a member of the Whig Party.  In December of 1834, he meets the Democrat, Stephen Douglas.  [Lincoln's personality and speaking ability helped to win votes and support.] 

. . . Lincoln soon demonstrated his wit and humor again. When the legislature mistakenly appointed a man to a surveyor post that was filled, Lincoln suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that the redundant appointment stand so that no action would be necessary should the incumbent surveyor conclude to die. He became a favorite for his agile mind, though he was more follower than leader at this stage of his political career. Appointed to twelve special committees, Lincoln drafted bills and resolutions for his fellow Whigs, and was elected to a second term in 1836.

. . . Lincoln's life on the farm (rail splitting and hard field work) held no attraction to him. [Ironically his father did not like or trust politicians, lawyers and surveyors--these were all his own son's professions].  Politically, too, Lincoln had rejected the Jeffersonian vision of an ever-expanding agrarian idyll composed of virtuous subsistence farmers. Lincoln believed, like many Whigs, in the prospect of developing the country's existing space, its' industry and its transportation network, rather than continuing to acquire new territory.

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