Lincoln's Notes for Speech at Chicago, February 28, 1857

    Source citation
    Notes for Speech at Chicago, February 28, 1857, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2: 390-391,
    Date Certainty
    Transcription adapted from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953), edited by Roy P. Basler
    Adapted by Matthew Pinsker, Dickinson College
    The following transcript has been adapted from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953).
    Notes for Speech at Chicago, Illinois

    With the future of this party, the approaching city election will have something to do—not, indeed, to the extent of making or breaking it, but still to help or to hurt it.

    Last year the city election here was lost by our friends; and none can safely say, but that fact lost us the electoral ticket at the State election.

    Although Chicago recovered herself in the fall, there was no general confidence that she could do so; and the Spring election encouraged our enemies, and haunted and depressed our friends to the last.

    Let it not be so again.

    Let minor differences, and personal preferences, if there be such; go to the winds.

    Let it be seen by the result, that the cause of free-men and free-labor is stronger in Chicago that day, than ever before.

    Let the news go forth to our thirteen hundred thousand bretheren, to gladden, and to multiply them; and to insure and accelerate that consummation, upon which the happy destiny of all men, everywhere, depends.

    We were without party history, party pride, or party idols.

    We were a collection of individuals, but recently in political hostility, one to another; and thus subject to all that distrust, and suspicion, and jealously could do.

    Every where in the ranks of the common enemy, were old party and personal friends, jibing, and jeering, and framing deceitful arguments against us.

    We were scarcely met at all on the real issue.

    Thousands avowed our principles, but turned from us, professing to believe we meant more than we said.

    No argument, which was true in fact, made any head-way against us. This we know.

    We constantly charged with seeking an amalgamation of the white and black races; and thousands turned from us, not believing the charge (no one believed it) but fearing to face it themselves.

    Fragment on Formation of the Republican Party

    Upon those men who are, in sentiment, opposed to the spread, and nationalization of slavery, rests the task of preventing it. The Republican organization is the embodiment of that sentiment; though, as yet, it by no means embraces al the individuals holding that sentiment. The party is newly formed; and in forming, old party ties had to be broken, ad the attractions of party pride, and influential leaders were wholly wanting. In spite of old differences, prejudices, and animosities, it’s members were drawn together by a paramount common danger. They formed and maneuvered in the face of the deciplined enemy, and in the teeth of all his persistent misrepresentations. Of course, they fell far short of gathering in all of their own. And yet, a year ago, they stood up, an army over thirteen hundred thousand strong. That army is, to-day, the best hope of the nation, and of the world. Their work is before them; and form which they may not guiltlessly turn away.
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