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


How did Lincoln make his first appearance in the East?

Many people knew the name of Abraham Lincoln because of the Lincoln–Douglas debates of 1858. Most people remembered that Lincoln lost that senatorial election, however, and some believed that his political career was over. Ever ambitious, always looking for the right moment and situation, Lincoln announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 1860.

Lincoln faced numerous obstacles, but the single most difficult was to persuade men of the Republican Party establishment in the Eastern and Northern states to accept an essentially Western man for the nomination. Lincoln, therefore, accepted an invitation from Reverend Henry Ward Beecher—the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe—to give a political speech at his church in Brooklyn, New York. When he arrived in Manhattan, Lincoln learned that the Republican Party leaders had changed the venue and that he was instead to speak at the Cooper Union Institute. Everything was made ready for the big speech, on February 22, 1860.


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