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


Who introduced Lincoln at the Cooper Union?

Born in western Massachusetts in 1794, William Cullen Bryant was only fifteen years older than Lincoln, but his flowing white beard made him seem much older. Through a lifetime of literary and commercial success, Bryant had become the grand old man of New York literary society, yet he shared some things with the unpolished man from the West. Like Lincoln, Bryant had been born in a log cabin. He was an intensely physical person (his long walks were something of a legend) and like Lincoln, Bryant believed that the American future was brightest when one looked farther West.

“The great West my friends, is a potent auxiliary in the battle we are fighting, for Freedom against Slavery; in behalf of civilization against barbarism; for the occupation of some of the fairest region of our Continent on which the settlers are now building their cabins.… These children of the West, my friends, form a living bulwark against the advance of slavery, and from them is recruited the vanguard of the armies of liberty.… I have only, my friends, to announce the name of ABRAHAM LINCOLN of Illinois.”


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