Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Remarks in Illinois Legislature Concerning Apportionment [1]

January 7, 1841

Mr. Lincoln said there was always in agreeing upon the ratio of an apportionment, no number we could fix upon that could suit all. Our counties ranged in population from 750 to 16,000. If we adopt the idea of the gentleman from Hamilton, and give each county a representative, we must begin with the county which has 750 inhabitants; and as the republican principle of representation according to numbers, will not be denied as proper for the basis ofPage  226 our action, we must then give a representative, according to the gentleman from Hamilton (Mr. Carpenter) for every 750 in the state. This by calculating, would be found to give a house of representatives of about 650 members. Such a proposition he was satisfied would not be tolerated by the house. He was disposed to go for the resolution as it came from the senate.


[1]   Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer, January 15, 1841. An inferior report of Lincoln's remarks appears in the Illinois State Register of the same date. The resolution under discussion proposed 12,000 as the ratio for apportionment. Lincoln's remarks were made in opposition to a motion by Milton Carpenter of Hamilton County, who wished to substitute a lower figure and who expressed the opinion that ``every county should have a representative in one branch of the legislature.''