Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Speech at Chicago, Illinois [1]

July 19, 1856

A large meeting was held in Dearborn Park on Saturday evening to hear the speech of Mr. Lincoln, and we have never seen an audience held for so long a time in the open air to listen to an argumentativePage  349 speech. The speaker was calm, clear and forcible, constantly referring to indisputable facts in our political history, and drawing conclusions from them in favor of supporting the Anti-Nebraska platform and nominees, that were unanswerable. He showed how the South does not put up her own men for the Presidency, but holds up the prize that the ambition of Northern men may make bids for it. He demonstrated in the strongest manner, that the only issue now before us, is freedom or slavery, that the perpetuity of our institutions is dependent upon maintaining the former against the aggressions of the latter, and held up the bug bear of disunion, threatened by the slavery extensionists, to the scorn and contempt it deserves.

He spoke in Dearborn Park, and was listened to by a very large audience. The speech was one that did him eminent credit, and which cannot fail to produce a telling effect upon the political sentiment of Chicago. The exposure of the fallaciousness of the position taken by Mr. Fillmore in his Albany speech [2] was timely and effective; and his refutation of the charge of sectionalism, so flippantly made by the slavery-extensionists against the Republican party, was full and able. Every point he touched upon was elucidated by the clearness of his logic, and with his keen blade of satire he laid bare the revolting features of policy of the pseudo-Democracy.


[1]   Chicago Democratic Press, July 21, 1856, and Peoria Weekly Republican, July 25, 1856.

[2]   Millard Fillmore had been nominated for president by the Know-Nothing or American Party on February 26 while he was abroad. Upon his arrival at New York on June 22, he made numerous speeches in and around New York City and en route to his home at Buffalo. The most notable of these speeches was his ``Union Speech'' at Albany on June 26, in which he charged the Republican party with being sectional.