In the fall of 1859, Abraham Lincoln received an invitation from the Young Men's Republican Club of New York to join a prominent speakers series designed to introduce likely presidential candidates and leading Republicans, especially from the "West," to New York audiences. Lincoln eagerly accepted the invitation but asked for extra time to prepare his remarks. The result was the lengthy, important and impressive speech delivered in February 1860 at the Cooper Institute or Cooper Union, a free educational institution established in lower Manhattan only the year before by industrialist Peter Cooper. In the excerpts below, Lincoln focused his attention on rebutting claims by Senator Stephen A. Douglas about the intent of the founders regarding slavery in the territories. Lincoln also addressed arguments directly to southerners and also to fellow Republicans as he covered topics such as John Brown's raid and threats of disunion. (By Matthew Pinsker)
Address at Cooper Institute, New York City in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 3: 522-550, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.
The Cooper Union, New York City
Transcription adapted from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953), edited by Roy P. Basler
Adapted by Matthew Pinsker, Dickinson College