Abraham Lincoln 3 Essay, Research Paper Abraham LincolnEvery boy and girl who knew Abraham Lincoln loved him as a friend. All the children around his home in Springfield, Ill., and around the White House in Washington felt that “Mr. Lincoln” understood them and truly liked them. Men and women who knew him admired him and called him “honest Abe.” People throughout the world said he was one of the greatest men of all time.
Abraham Lincoln 3 Essay, Research Paper
Abraham LincolnEvery boy and girl who knew Abraham Lincoln loved him as a friend. All the children around his home in Springfield, Ill., and around the White House in Washington felt that “Mr. Lincoln” understood them and truly liked them. Men and women who knew him admired him and called him “honest Abe.” People throughout the world said he was one of the greatest men of all time. He was an unusual man in many ways. One minute he would wrestle with his sons or tell a joke and slap his bony knees in laughter. The next minute he might be deep in thought and not notice anything around him. He was gentle and patient, but no one was more determined. He was tall–nearly six feet four inches–very thin, and stooped. He spent less than a year in school, but he never stopped studying. All his life he was a “learner.” Born in a log cabin on the frontier, he made his own way in life and became the president who kept the United States united.His Family Came from EnglandThe first of the Lincoln family to come to America was Samuel Lincoln. He had been a weaver’s apprentice at Hingham, England. He settled in Hingham, Mass., in 1637. From there the family spread southward to Virginia, where Abraham’s father, Thomas Lincoln, was born in 1778. When Thomas was four years old the family moved to Kentucky. There his father, who was a farmer, was killed by Indians. Thomas grew up in Kentucky. He never went to school, but he learned to be a carpenter. He was a strong, heavy-built man, who sometimes spoke sharply and at other times entertained his friends with jokes and stories. Some historians have called him shiftless. True, he moved many times in his life, but he worked hard enough at carpentry to buy farms. He did not, however, make much of a living, because most of the land he cleared was too poor for good crops.Marries Nancy Hanks, Mother of AbrahamIn 1806 Thomas married Nancy Hanks. She had been born in Virginia, but little else is known of the Hanks family. Nancy was only a baby when her mother Lucy brought her to Kentucky. When Nancy married Thomas Lincoln she was 22 years old, tall, and slender. Some historians say she could neither read nor write, which was not unusual for pioneer women. Others say that she read the Bible daily. Thomas and Nancy settled in Elizabethtown in Hardin County, Ky. Their first child, Sarah, was born there. In 1808 Thomas bought a half-cleared farm at Sinking Spring on the Nolin River near Hodgenville. He hopefully moved his family to this first farm–a rolling stretch of thin, poor land on a lonely river.Abraham Born in a Log CabinAbout sunrise on Feb. 12, 1809, the son of Thomas and Nancy Lincoln was born. They named him Abraham after his grandfather Lincoln. Abraham’s birthplace was a one-room log cabin, 16 feet long and 18 feet wide. The logs were chinked with clay and light came dimly through the single window. The floor was earth, packed down hard, and the bed was made of poles and cornhusks. A roaring fire on the hearth and rough bearskin blankets kept Nancy and her son Abraham warm on that cold winter morning. In the spring of 1811 Thomas Lincoln moved his family to a farm he had bought on Knob Creek, about ten miles northeast of Sinking Spring. In later years Abraham Lincoln said that the Knob Creek farm was the first home he remembered and he loved it. Like all farm boys in those busy days young Abe learned to plant, hoe, husk corn, build hearth fires, carry water, and chop wood. When he was six years old, Sarah and he tramped “up the road a piece,” some two miles each way, to a log schoolhouse. Here he learned to read, write, and “do sums” (arithmetic). He liked writing best of all. Later he said that he practiced writing “anywhere and everywhere that lines could be drawn.” He wrote with charcoal on the back of a wooden shovel and even in dust and snow. Between chores young Abe climbed the rocky cliffs at Knob Creek, roamed among the dark cool pines and cedar trees in the valley, or waded in the pebbly creek. Sometimes he stood in the hot, dusty clay to watch the covered wagons carrying settlers along the nearby Cumberland Trail. His buckskin breeches were pulled high on his spindly legs and his thin arms stuck out from his rough linen shirt. There were no close neighbors. Abe got used to being alone. He did not mind because he loved the hills and the quiet hollows and the trees–especially the trees. He learned so well to tell the many kinds that many years later, on his walks around Washington, he would point out their differences. He smilingly told visitors, “I know all about trees in light of being a backwoodsman.”Lincolns Move to IndianaIn December 1816 Thomas took his family across the Ohio River to the backwoods of Indiana. For the last few miles Thomas, probably helped by Abe, had to cut a trail out of the wilderness of trees and tangle of wild grapevines. That winter in Indiana was so cold that people remembered it as the year of “eighteen hundred and froze to death.” The Lincolns settled on Little Pigeon Creek in Spencer County, about 16 miles from the Ohio River. Young Abe and Sarah helped their father build a “half-faced camp.” This was a shed of poles and bark, with one side left open toward a roaring log fire. They had to keep the fire burning day and night. They needed it for warmth, cooking, and drying their snow-soaked clothes and moccasins. While the family huddled in their lean-to through the freezing winter, Thomas and Abe worked every day building a log cabin. Abe was only eight years old, but very large for his age, and he quickly learned to swing an ax. They cut and hewed logs for a cabin 18 feet by 20, then chinked the logs with clay and grass. Once in a while the boy shot a wild turkey, for the family lived mostly on wild game, with a little corn. He never became much of a hunter, however, as he did not like to shoot to kill. With Sarah he picked berries, nuts, and wild fruits for the family and trudged a mile to a spring for water. All around them was the unbroken wilderness. Abraham’s Fine Stepmother–SarahIn the autumn of 1818 Nancy Hanks Lincoln died of the dread frontier disease called “milk sickness.” Sarah, only 11 years old, took over the cooking and cabin chores while Thomas and young Abe cut timber to clear farm land. After a year the little family was in sorry shape. They needed a woman’s help. Thomas rode back to Elizabethtown, Ky., and married a widow, Sarah Bush Johnston, whom he had known since boyhood. He brought her and her three children to the shabby little log cabin in Indiana. Abe and his sister Sarah quickly learned to love their second mother. She was a big-boned woman, with clear skin, friendly eyes, and a quiet way of getting things done. She cleaned up the untidy cabin. She had Thomas make a wood floor and chairs and build a bed for the feather mattress she had brought from Kentucky. Young Abe and Sarah had never lived in a cabin so homelike. Thomas did better on the farm, too, and the children began to eat and dress better. Sarah Lincoln did all this without any criticism or impatient words. She knew well that the family needed her. Best of all, she encouraged Abe to study. She was not educated, but she saw how eager he was to learn. In later years he said of her: “She was the best friend I ever had. . . . All that I am, I owe to my angel mother.” Sarah Lincoln told people: “He was the best boy I ever saw. I never gave him a cross word in my life. His mind and mine, what little I had, seemed to run together.”Abe Grows Up with BooksSarah made Thomas send the gangling 11-year-old to school. There was no regular teacher. When some man came along who knew a little about the three R’s, he might teach the boys and girls for a few weeks–usually in the winter when farm work was slack. Whenever “school kept” at Pigeon Creek, Abe hiked four miles each way, his cowhide boots sloshing in the snow. He did not mind this long, uncomfortable hike to and from school because he was glad to be learning. All subjects fascinated him. In all his life his schooling did not add up to a year, but he made up for it by reading. A cousin, Dennis Hanks, who came to live with the Lincolns, said: “I never seen Abe after he was 12 that he didn’t have a book somewheres around.” By the time Abe was 14 he would often read at night by the light of the log fire. His first books were the Bible, ‘Aesop’s Fables’, and ‘Robinson Crusoe’. When he was 15 years old he was so tall and strong that he often worked as a hired hand on other farms. Usually, while he plowed or split fence rails, he kept a borrowed book tucked in his shirt to read while he lunched or rested. He could turn in a good day’s work when he had to. Many neighbors, however, called him lazy, saying he was “always readin’ and thinkin’.” Once Abe grinned and told his farm boss, “My father taught me to work, but he never taught me to love it.”A farmer loaned him ‘The Life of George Washington’, by Parson Weems, and Abe left it in the rain. To make up for his carelessness, Abe shucked corn for him for three days. All his life Abraham Lincoln made every effort to do the fair thing. He could never get enough to read. He said: “The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” Once he tramped nearly 20 miles to Rockport to borrow one.Storyteller, Ferryman, and Law “Listener”After supper Abe often walked down the road to Gentryville to join the “boys” at Gentry’s store. His humorous stories, sometimes told in dialect, were popular with the young men lounging against the log counter. He loved to imitate travelers and local characters and would throw back his head with a booming laugh. In his own speech he pronounced words as he had learned them on the Kentucky frontier, such as “cheer” for “chair” and “git” for “get.” That was the way all Southern woodsmen talked. Between farm chores he helped to run a ferry across the Ohio River to Kentucky. When he was 18 he built his own scow and rowed passengers over the shallows to steamers out in the river. Always he kept teaching himself new things. He became interested in law. Borrowing a book on the laws of Indiana, he studied it long into the night. He strode miles to the nearest courthouse to hear lawyers try cases. He even crossed into Kentucky to listen in court. Every visit taught him more about the ways of lawyers and furnished him with new stories. Throughout his later life as a lawyer, politician, and statesman he shrewdly drew on this rich fund of stories to make a legal point or to win audiences. Down the Mississippi to New OrleansWhen Abe was 19 he got his first chance to see something of the “outside world.” James Gentry, the owner of the country store, hired him to take a flatboat of cargo to New Orleans, then a wealthy city of some 40,000 people. With Gentry’s son, Allen, Abe cut timber, hewed great planks, and built a flatboat called a “broadhorn.”New Orleans was 1,000 miles down the twisting Mississippi River. From sunup to sundown the two brawny young men pulled the long oars–about 40 feet long at bow and stern. Often they hurriedly hauled back on the side sweeps to swing the boat from snags, clumsy flatboats, or trim steamers caught in the shifting currents. They lived on board, cooking and sleeping in a rickety lean-to on deck. At night they tied up to a tree or stump on the muddy bank. In New Orleans Abe saw his first auction of slaves. At that time slavery was lawful in all the United States south of the Ohio River. The tall, thoughtful young man winced at the sight of slave gangs in chains being marched off to plantations. Later he said, “Slavery is a continual torment to me.”To Illinois and Splitting RailsBack from New Orleans, Abe clerked part time at Gentry’s country store and helped his father get ready to move to Illinois. The Indiana farm had not been a success. Through the winter the men built wagons and chests and made yokes and harness. In March 1830 they started their 200-mile trek. Fording rivers and creeks, the heavy wagons often broke through the ice. Lincoln later said: “Once my little dog jumped out of the wagon . . . broke through, and was struggling for life. I could not bear to lose my dog, and I jumped out of the wagon and waded waist deep in ice and water, and got hold of him.”The family settled on the Sangamon River, some ten miles southwest of Decatur, Ill. Once more Abe helped to clear a farm. With a cousin, John Hanks, he then split 3,000 rails to fence some neighbors’ land. He was truly “right handy with an ax.” His feats with an ax on the Illinois prairie led his political supporters to call him, later in life, the “rail splitter.” Even in his last years, as president, he could hold an ax straight out at arm’s length–something very few young men could do.Starts His Own Life at New SalemAfter a winter of cold and illness Thomas Lincoln again moved, about 100 miles southeast into Coles County. This time Abe did not go. He was 21 years old and ready to live his own life. Loving the river, he again took a flatboat to New Orleans, loaded with pork, corn, and live hogs. On his return he hired out as a clerk in the village store at New Salem, Ill. The tiny settlement stood on a bluff above the Sangamon, about 20 miles northwest of Springfield. Here he lived for six years (1831-37). For $15 a month and a sleeping room in the back, he tended store and a gristmill. Tales sprang up fast about Lincoln in the New Salem days. People spoke about his strict honesty and his giant strength. Some told how he once walked six miles to give back a few pennies to a woman who had overpaid for dry goods. Whenever a settler bought furs, or an oxen yoke, gun, tea, or salt knew he would get his money’s worth from “honest Abe.” He would also enjoy a laugh at one of Abe’s stories. Lincoln’s employer boasted of Abe’s strength and wrestling ability so much that a gang of toughs in nearby Clary’s Grove challenged him. Men trooped in from the neighboring villages to see the match. The Clary’s Grove champion was Jack Armstrong, a thickset, powerful man. He had always thrown all comers. He rushed at Lincoln, trying to hurl him off his feet. Lincoln held Armstrong off in his long arms, then grappled and threw him to the grass where they rolled over and over. After a panting, grunting tussle Lincoln let go of Armstrong and, according to some stories, said: “Jack, let’s quit. I can’t throw you. You can’t throw me.” Armstrong shook Lincoln’s hand, saying he was the “best feller that ever broke into this settlement.” They became good friends. In matches with other powerful wrestlers Lincoln often simply tossed them over his head. With his great long legs he was the fastest foot racer, and when he had to fight with his fists he did.
Captain in Black Hawk WarWhen the Black Hawk War broke out in April 1832 Lincoln and the Clary’s Grove men enlisted. The war was a series of border raids by Sauk and Fox Indians led by chief Black Hawk. They crossed from Iowa into Illinois and attacked and scalped settlers. (See also Indians, American, “Centuries of Struggle Between Indians and Whites.”)The Clary’s Grove men elected Lincoln captain of their rifle company. The honor pleased him, but he knew nothing about military life. Once he could not think of the order he should give to march his company through a gate in formation. Scratching his head, he finally commanded: “Halt! this company will break ranks for two minutes and form again on the other side of the gate.”When Lincoln’s term of enlistment ended in 30 days he re-enlisted as a private. In all, he served three months. He never fought in a battle, but he twice saw the horror of bodies scalped by the Indians. His army experience, learned on long marches and in rough camps, taught him sympathy for soldiers’ hardships in the field. In later life, when he was commander in chief in the Civil War, he treated soldiers’ failings with great understanding.Loses in Politics; Opens a StoreJust before the outbreak of the Black Hawk War, Lincoln had decided to run for the Illinois legislature. After his war service he again started his campaign. He was 23 years old, lanky and so tall that his cheap linen pants never reached his ankles. His coarse black hair was always mussed and his dark-skinned face was already deeply lined. In a circular he sent out to voters, he wrote: “I was born and have remained in the most humble walks of life.” While he was speaking at one political rally a fight broke out. Lincoln strode up to the man who had started the brawl, seized him by the neck and seat of the pants, and hurled him out of the crowd. Lincoln then calmly went back to his speech, saying: “My politics are short and sweet, like the old lady’s dance.” In just two or three sentences he told what he would vote for and ended by saying: “If elected I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same.” He did not carry the district, but his local popularity gave him nearly every vote in New Salem. Meanwhile the New Salem store failed. Lincoln was out of work. He thought of learning to be a blacksmith, but another New Salem store was put up for sale. Lincoln, with William Berry as partner, bought it on credit. Neither one, however, was much interested in tending to business. Lincoln preferred to visit with the few customers or to lean against the door and read. After several months Berry died, leaving Lincoln more than $1,000 in debt. Eventually he paid back every cent, but it took him years. Becomes Postmaster and SurveyorFailing as a storekeeper, Lincoln again was “hard up.” In May 1833 his friends got him appointed the postmaster of New Salem. The job paid only about $50 a year, but it took little of his time and gave him the chance to read all the incoming newspapers free. He read every issue and was particularly interested in the political news. To earn his board and lodging, he also split rails and worked as a mill hand and hired man. In every spare moment he read or made political talks. In the autumn of 1833 Lincoln gladly took an appointment as deputy county surveyor. To learn the work, he plunged into books on surveying and mathematics. By studying all day, and sometimes all night, he learned surveying in six weeks. As he rode about the county, laying out roads and towns, he lived with different families and made new friends. The wife of Jack Armstrong, the Clary’s Grove “champion,” said: “Abe would drink milk, eat mush, corn bread and butter, and rock the cradle. . . . He would tell stories, joke people at parties . . . do anything to accommodate anybody.”Elected to Legislature and Becomes LawyerIn 1834 Lincoln’s old friends in New Salem and his new friends throughout Sangamon County elected him to the Illinois General Assembly. They reelected him in 1836, 1838, and 1840. Before his first term began in November 1834 he borrowed 200 dollars to pay the most pressing of his debts and to buy a suit for his new work. Vandalia was then the capital of Illinois. Lincoln soon became popular in the legislature. One representative said that Lincoln was “raw-boned . . . ungraceful . . . almost uncouth . . . and yet there was a magnetism about the man that made him a universal favorite.” By the time he started his second term he was a skilled politician and a leader of the Whig party in Illinois. A fellow Whig declared: “We followed his lead; but he followed nobody’s lead. . . . He was poverty itself, but independent.”Encouraged by friends in the legislature, he determined to become a lawyer. Between terms he borrowed law books and returned them in New Salem in order to study. Often he walked the 20-mile (32-kilometer) round trip between Springfield and New Salem just to return one law book and to get another. He was doing what he advised a young law student to do years later: “Get the books . . . and study them till you understand them in their principal features. . . . Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” He took some time from his studying to serve as New Salem’s postmaster and did some surveying work. On Sept. 9, 1836, he received his law license. In New Salem Lincoln boarded in the log inn kept by James Rutledge. Rutledge’s daughter Ann was tall, slim, and blue-eyed, with auburn hair. Legend says that she was Lincoln’s sweetheart and that when she died in 1835, at the age of 19, he nearly lost his mind in grief. The legend apparently grew from a lecture given by William Herndon, Lincoln’s last law partner, a year after Lincoln’s death. Historians today, however, are not convinced that Ann Rutledge promised to marry Lincoln. At the time of her death, from what was called “brain fever,” she was engaged to one of Lincoln’s friends, John McNamar. Two years before Anne’s death Lincoln had met in New Salem a visitor from Kentucky. She was Mary Owens, the well-educated daughter of a wealthy farmer. She was slightly older than Lincoln. He escorted her to quiltings, huskings, and other social events, but sometimes forgot to help her cross creeks or climb steep hills. Apparently his absent-mindedness did not suit Mary Owens. When, in the summer of 1837, he proposed to her in a rather indecisive way, she “respectfully declined” to marry him.Lincoln in SpringfieldIn 1837 Lincoln led the drive to have the capital transferred from Vandalia to Springfield. The legislature did not meet there until 1839, but in April 1837 Lincoln left New Salem to make his home in Springfield. He put his few belongings into saddlebags and rode a borrowed horse to the thriving town on the prairie. (See also Springfield, Ill.)He was 28 years old and so poor that he did not have the 17 dollars needed to buy the furnishings for a bed. Joshua Speed, a storekeeper, recalled that when Lincoln said he could not afford it, “The tone of his voice was so melancholy that I felt for him.” Speed immediately invited Lincoln to share his own lodgings. This kindness was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. By 1839 Lincoln was established a reputation for himself as a lawyer in Springfield and was taking part in the busy social life of the city. One of the society belles was a young lady named Mary Todd. She had come from her home in Lexington, Ky., to live with her sister and brother-in-law, son of the governor of Illinois. At that time Mary was 21 years old–small, plump, pretty, and unusually well educated–but also temperamental and nervous. Lincoln first met her in the winter of 1839 at a dance. He was immediately attracted to her and said, “Miss Todd, I want to dance with you in the worst way.” Later, she told friends, “And he certainly did!”Courtship and MarriageSoon Lincoln was spending every free moment with Mary Todd. They both loved literature and poetry, especially Shakespeare and Robert Burns. Lincoln delighted in reciting passages from memory. He had always been, as he said, a “slow learner,” but he never forgot what he learned. He was also pleased that Mary took an interest in politics. Mary Todd was also being courted by Stephen Douglas, a prominent lawyer, with whom Lincoln was later to debate dramatically (see Douglas, Stephen). Her wealthy, aristocratic family was opposed to Lincoln, who was considered to be “uncouth, full of rough edges.” Mary, as always, knew exactly what she wanted. By the spring she was devoted to Lincoln and told friends, “His heart is as big as his arms are long.” She was also so sure of his remarkable abilities that she predicted he would someday be elected president of the United States. After a series of temperamental clashes between them, Mary Todd, the Kentucky belle, and Abraham Lincoln, son of the frontier, were married on Nov. 4, 1842. They were living in one room at the Globe Tavern in Springfield when their first child, Robert Todd, was born in 1843. During the next year Lincoln bought a light tan frame house on the edge of town. There Edward, William, and Thomas (Tad) were born in 1846, 1850, and 1853. The Lincolns’ home life was often stormy. Both of them were at fault. An extremely sensitive, high-strung woman who was afflicted with migraine headaches, Mary frequently gave way to rages of uncontrollable temper. Sometimes they may have been justified, for Lincoln had trying habits. Most arose from his enormous power of concentration. When he became interested in a book or a problem, he forgot everything else. Once when he was pulling his baby sons in a wagon and reading a book as he walked, one of the boys fell out. Lincoln did not notice the child’s frightened howls until Mary rushed to pick up her son, then censured the surprised father. Lincoln went to bed at all hours and got up at all hours. Often he came home two or three hours late to dinner, then was startled to find Mary upset over his tardiness. When he took off his stovepipe hat, his notes and legal papers spilled over the neat parlor floor. (He usually carried his work in his hat, which he called his “walking office.”) If the parlor stove went out when he was lost in thought, he never noticed the cold. For no apparent reason he sank into black, silent moods for hours, and sometimes days, at a time. When he thought of it, however, he would do anything to please her. Patiently, he let her teach him the social graces. He was extremely careless about his dress and knew that this bothered Mary, who wanted to take pride in him as a rising young lawyer. Every morning before walking slowly to his untidy law office, he stood in the doorway to let her inspect him. His shirt, which she made, must be fresh, his boots polished, his suit and stovepipe hat brushed. In wet weather she made him carry his baggy umbrella; on cold days, his gray shawl. He knew she was terrified by thunder. No matter how busy he was, he would hurry from his office at the first warning of a storm. Rushing home, he would stay at her side until it ended. Like Mary, he enjoyed entertaining. He neither drank nor smoked but loved music and people. Although he cared nothing for food and had to be prodded to eat, he liked to have friends in for supper. As he prospered in his law practice, Mary and he gave large dinner parties and became noted as generous and gracious hosts.Devotion to FamilyMary and Abe Lincoln were blindly devoted to their four sons. They thought the boys could do no wrong, but the children were hopelessly spoiled and annoyed the whole neighborhood. On Sundays, while Mary was at church, Lincoln took the youngsters to his law office. While he worked unheedingly on his papers, they raced, wrestled, spilled ink, and overturned furniture until Lincoln’s law partner, Herndon, told friends, “I’d like to wring their necks!” He never complained to Lincoln, however. At home Lincoln gave them boisterous “romps,” or read aloud to them while they climbed over him, thumping him enthusiastically. In the yard they chased around him while he curried the horse or milked the cow. When he went to market to help Mary, grocery basket in hand, they trailed along swinging from his long arms or riding his shoulders. Often the noisy procession stopped while he and the boys and neighbor children held hopping contests. Springing with his great long legs, Lincoln “in three hops could get 40 feet on a dead level.”Elected to Congress, Retires to Resume LawIn 1847 Lincoln went to Washington, D.C., as a representative from Illinois. The Mexican War was on (see Mexican War). Lincoln opposed it. His antiwar speeches displeased his political supporters. He knew they would not reelect him. At the end of his term in 1849 he returned to Springfield. He sought an appointment as commissioner in the General Land Office in Washington, but failed to get it. Later that year he was offered the governorship of the Oregon Territory. He refused, convinced that he was now a failure in politics. Returning to the law, he again rode the circuit, which kept him away from home nearly six months of each year. He missed his family but loved the easy comradeship of fellow lawyers staying in country inns and delighted in the sharp give-and-take in court. Wherever he went he could make the jury and courtroom weep or split their sides with laughter. Even more important to his success was his reputation for honesty. Honest Abe would not take a case unless he believed in his client’s innocence or rights. He became an outstanding lawyer. During this period he successfully handled important cases for the Rock Island Railroad and the Illinois Central Railroad. His most famous case, perhaps, was his victorious defense of “Duff” Armstrong, who was accused of murder. Duff was the son of Jack Armstrong, Lincoln’s old wrestling foe. The accusing witness said he had seen Duff bludgeon and kill a man with a “slung shot” one night in the “bright moonlight.” Lincoln opened an almanac and showed it recorded that the moon on that night had set long before the scuffle.Returns to PoliticsThe threat of slavery being extended brought Lincoln back into politics in 1854. He did not suggest interfering with slavery in states where it was already lawful. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, however, enabled the people of each new territory to vote on whether the territory would be slave or free, thus threatening to extend slavery (see Kansas-Nebraska Act). Lincoln began a series of speeches protesting the act. In 1856 he helped to organize the Illinois branch of the new Republican party, a political party formed by people who wanted to stop the spread of slavery (see Political Parties). He became the leading Republican in Illinois. When the Republicans nominated John C. Fremont for the presidency of the United States, Lincoln received 110 votes for nomination as vice-president (see Fremont). This brought Lincoln to the a
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