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Abraham Lincoln, Notes for a Law Lecture, circa 1850

Abraham Lincoln, circa 1846, detail
The editors of Abraham Lincoln's Collected Works have tentatively dated this fragment found in his papers as July 1, 1850. It appears to have been the draft of a speech that Lincoln must have given to younger members of the Illinois bar during the period in the early 1850s when he was most active as a circuit-riding attorney. In these notes, Lincoln offered a series of common sense observations about how to succeed in the legal profession (or any profession), but he punctuated his remarks by emphasizing the need for honesty, a standard he seemed especially determined to meet in his own career. (By Matthew Pinsker)


How to Cite This Page: "Abraham Lincoln, Notes for a Law Lecture, circa 1850," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,