The "House Divided" speech is one of Abraham Lincoln's best-known speeches.

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Lincoln Personal Stories #9-- "My Politics"

Lincoln, in stovepipe hat, with Allan Pinkerton and Gen. John McClernand at Antietam

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Number Nine

From Lincoln’s Autobiographies and other Sources

[Selections are from Abraham Lincoln's speeches, 1850's]

    After my duty as captain in the Illinois Volunteers in the Black Hawk War, 1832 ". . . I was elated, ran for the Legislature the same year (1832) and was beaten--the only time I ever have been beaten by the people. The next, and three succeeding biennial elections, I was elected to the Legislature. I was not a candidate afterwards. During this Legislative period I had studied law, and removed to Springfield to practise it. In 1846 I was once elected to the lower House of Congress."  A. Lincoln

    "I Was not a candidate for re-election. From 1849 to 1854, both inclusive, practiced law more assiduously than ever before. Always a Whig in politics, and generally on the Whig electoral tickets, making active canvasses--I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again."    A. Lincoln

    "I was reelected in 1836, 1838, and 1840," to the Illinois General Assembly as Representative.  In 1846 I was elected to the lower House of Congress, and served one term only, commencing in December, 1847, and ending with the inauguration of General Taylor, in March 1849.  In 1854 his profession had almost superseded the thought of politics in his mind, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused him as he had never been before."  A. Lincoln

In 1858, Abraham brought out the real feelings he had against slavery in a speech in the Illinois State House.

"...A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.  It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South...."  A. Lincoln


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