In 1858, Illinois joined Kansas as a battleground in the war between slavery and freedom. Here a leading Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas, faced a former Illinois congressman and railroad attorney, Abraham Lincoln, in the race for a U.S. Senate seat held by Douglas. To the consternation of Lincoln and most Republicans, Horace Greeley supported Douglas, a Democrat, against Lincoln, a Republican. Why? Many have attributed Greeley’s support for Douglas simply to his erratic and inconsistent political behavior. But in fact, Greeley’s consistent strategy that year was to divide the Democrats by backing an anti-Lecompton man who had broken with his party and his president, which would help elect a Republican president in 1860. Strategically, Greeley had his eye on the next presidential election, when his old mentor William Henry Seward would probably be the front-runner. Lincoln was an unknown figure outside Illinois. Tactically, Greeley thought defeating Lincoln and returning a renegade Senator to divide the Democrats in Washington was a perfectly reasonable strategy.