Lincoln Runs for Congress

Lincoln Runs for Congress

Lincoln Runs for Congress

Lincoln Runs for Congress

Excerpt

This study of Lincoln's campaign for nomination and election to Congress is offered as a report of an episode in Western history, rather than as a chapter of Lincoln biography. In the broadest sense it is a documentation of the Frederick Jackson Turner hypothesis of the significance of the frontier. Its potential contribution to Lincoln biography is within the framework of frontier history. The regional factors in the settlement of Illinois enable the understanding of the emergence of political attitudes and parties in a frontier state, and Lincoln's early career can be understood as the issues and viewpoints of Illinois politicians were shaped by the regional influences in western settlement.

If the estimate of Congressman A. G. Riddle -- that Lincoln was a consummate manager of men -- is correct, Lincoln's finesse in political technique is discovered to be no sudden acquisition at the time of his election to the presidency, but a skill developed in the formative days of his career as an Illinois politician. Lincoln's ability as a minority President is much more readily understood when his leadership in a minority party in his state is studied. His success in handling the border slave states in the secession crisis was made possible by what he learned as a local politician in a region which had been settled largely by emigrants from Kentucky and Tennessee.

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