THE LINCOLN "CIRCUIT-RIDER"
For General Information, Click
each "Circuit Rider Sculpture" for the Lincoln Springfield Years
Political beginnings while living at New Salem,
including the first "important" stump speech in bare
feet; runs for the Illinois General Assembly including
wins and losses; his earliest platform and membership in
the Whig Party
helped to get the Illinois state capital moved from
Vandalia to Springfield. April 15;
leaves New Salem and settles in Springfield;
Becomes a law partner of John T. Stuart. In Summer,
proposes marriage to Mary Owens, is turned down and the
Helps to successfully defend Henry Truett in a famous
6, re-elected to the Illinois Gen. Assembly, becoming
Whig floor leader.
Travels through nine counties in central and eastern
Illinois as a lawyer on the 8th Judicial Circuit.
December 3, admitted to practice in United States
Mary Todd, 21, at a dance.
Early and Mid 1840's
In June, Lincoln argues his first case before the
Illinois Supreme Court;
August 3, re-elected to the Illinois Gen. Assembly;
In Fall, becomes engaged to Mary Todd.
January 1, breaks off engagement with Mary Todd. Has
episode of depression;
March 1, forms new law partnership with Stephen T.
Logan. In August;
Personal: makes a
trip by steamboat to Kentucky and sees twelve slaves
Does not seek re-election to the legislature;
In Summer, resumes courtship with Mary Todd; Political:
In September, accepts a challenge to a duel by
Democratic state auditor James Shields over published
letters making fun of Shields;
September 22, duel with swords is averted by an
explanation of letters;
November 4, marries Mary Todd in Springfield.
Lincoln is unsuccessful in try for the Whig nomination
for U.S. Congress;
Personal: August 1,
first child, Robert Todd Lincoln, is born.
May, the Lincoln family moves into a house in
Springfield, bought for $1500;
Campaigns for Henry Clay in the presidential election.
In December, dissolves law partnership with Logan, then
sets up his own practice.
March 10, a son, Edward Baker Lincoln is born. May 1,
nominated to be the Whig candidate for U.S. Congress.
August 3, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Moves into a boarding house in Washington, D.C. with his
wife and sons;
December 6, takes his seat when Thirtieth Congress
convenes. December 22, presents resolutions questioning
President Polk about U.S. hostilities with Mexico.
January 22, gives a speech on floor of the House against
President Polk's war policy regarding Mexico. In June,
attends the national Whig convention supporting General
Zachary Taylor as the nominee for president. Campaigns
for Taylor in Maryland and in Boston, Mass., then in
- Political: March 7
and 8, makes an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court
regarding the Illinois statute of limitations, but is
31, returns to Springfield and leaves politics to
Personal: On May
22, Abraham Lincoln is granted U.S. Patent No. 6,469
(the only president ever granted a patent).
HOUSE DIVIDED SPEECH AND THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES
February 1, his son Edward dies after a two month
Lincoln resumes his travels in the 8th Judicial Circuit
covering over 400 miles in 14 counties in Illinois.
'Honest Abe' gains a reputation as an outstanding
December 21, his third son, William Wallace Lincoln
(Willie) is born.
January 17, Lincoln's father dies.
April 4, his fourth son, Thomas (Tad) is born.
opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Elected to Illinois
legislature but declines the seat in order to try to
become U.S. Senator.
Does not get chosen by the Illinois legislature to be
May 29, helps organize the new Republican party of
Illinois. At the first Republican convention Lincoln
gets 110 votes for the vice-presidential nomination,
bringing him national attention. Campaigns in Illinois
for Republican presidential candidate, John C. Frémont.
June 26, in Springfield, Lincoln speaks against the Dred
In May, wins acquittal in a murder trial by using an
almanac regarding the height of the moon to discredit a
June 16, nominated to be the Republican senator from
Illinois, opposing Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. Gives
"House Divided" speech
at the state convention in Springfield. Also engages
Douglas in a series of seven debates with big audiences.
Illinois legislature chooses Douglas for the U.S. Senate
over Lincoln by a vote of 54 to 46;
In the Fall, Lincoln makes his last trip through the 8th
Judicial Circuit. December 20, writes a short
Lincoln's Cooper-Union speech,
February 27, 1860,
brought him to national
Click here to read, about the speech.
Abraham Lincoln's political career mostly occurred in
Illinois. He would win a seat in the Illinois State
General Assembly as Representative, a seat as U.S.
Representative, and ran for U.S. Senate, losing to
Stephen Douglas. He started out as a Whig party member,
and would later help to start the new Republican party.
Lincoln was self-educated, and at New Salem worked on
improving his grammar, including speaking and writing.
Here to Read Abraham Lincoln's Political History--
Directions: This page has Multiple Parts. Follow each
Part, and complete them.
Opponents and Elections
can follow a great timeline of Lincoln's political
James Baldwin's article
for answers to these questions
first political party affiliation was with what party?
2. Who was Lincoln's main political opponent--from
3. How many times did Abe run for office and lose?
4. What offices did Lincoln win?
5. Lincoln became a leader of a brand new political
party. What was the name of the party?
6. How did Abraham Lincoln get support of the whole
nation when he ran for President? (there was no TV or
Internet--only newspapers in the 19th century)
7. Lincoln's political party became the party that was
most instrumental in ending an American institution.
What was the institution?
At the Cooper Union Hall, Lincoln
gave a great speech, that got him national attention.
What else did this speech cause to happen to him?
On-Line Pages-- Early Years
Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858--
Senatorial Election in Illinois
against Incumbent Steven Douglas
Highlights are from the History Place Timeline
Visit Other Learning On-Line Sites
Abraham Lincoln Political Beginnings
Learning Lincoln On-Line Topics index
16th President Home Page