Abraham Lincoln

Political Offices

When did Lincoln become a U.S. congressman?

Lincoln lost his first race for U.S. Congress to John J. Hardin—who was also an attorney—in 1842. Hardin was a cousin to Lincoln’s wife, Mary. In 1846, however, Lincoln won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by defeating Peter Cartwright. In the House, he attracted attention for voicing his opposition to President Polk and the Mexican–American War. He introduced the “Spot Resolutions,” which demanded that President Polk document the exact location (or spot) where blood was spilled on American soil. Polk had argued that such violence on American soil justified the Mexican–American War.


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