Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861


How did Lincoln conclude, and how was the speech received?

“Wrong as we think Slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread in the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States?” The obvious answer was no.

Lincoln received three rousing cheers, and when he walked among the large crowd to talk with various persons, it was apparent that he had succeeded. The Cooper Union speech made him seem rational, reasonable, and as polished as a man from the backwoods might be. He was not the equal of William Cullen Bryant, but those who listened to him that evening believed he might one day rise to that esteemed a level.


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