Thursday, June 16, 2011
A Speech That Stands
Abraham Lincoln accepted the nomination of the Illinois Republican Party to run as their United States senator on June 16th 1858 in Springfield, Illinois. He gave his “House Divided Speech” as this acceptance. Lincoln would be campaigning for the Senate seat against Stephen A Douglas. The speech painted a clear picture of the coming disunion caused by slavery, and differentiated between Lincoln and Douglas who believed in popular sovereignty for the states.
Most people felt Lincoln’s speech was to radical. William H Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner believed he was taking the moral high ground but was politically flawed. Leonard Swett, another lawyer claimed the “House Divided Speech” caused Lincoln’s loss in the Senate campaign. Swett wrote to Herndon of the speech in 1866, saying “Nothing could have been more unfortunate or inappropriate; it was saying first the wrong thing, yet he saw it was an abstract truth, but standing by the speech would ultimately find him in the right place."
To read the whole speech check this web site a House Divided Speech