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

Notes for Speech at Chicago, Illinois [1]

February 28, 1857

With the future of this party, the approaching city election will have something to do---not, indeed, to the extent of making or breaking it, but still to help or to hurt it.

Last year the city election here was lost by our friends; and none can safely say, but that fact lost us the electoral ticket at the State election.

Although Chicago recovered herself in the fall, there was no general confidence that she could do so; and the Spring election encouraged our enemies, and haunted and depressed our friends to the last.

Let it not be so again.

Let minor differences, and personal preferences, if there be such; go to the winds.

Let it be seen by the result, that the cause of free-men and free-labor is stronger in Chicago that day, than ever before.

Let the news go forth to our thirteen hundred thousand bretheren, to gladden, and to multiply them; and to insure and accelerate that consumation, upon which the happy destiny of all men, everywhere, depends.

We [2] were without party history, party pride, or party idols.

We were a collection of individuals, but recently in political hostility, one to another; and thus subject to all that distrust, and suspicion, and jealousy could do.

Every where in the ranks of the common enemy, were old partyPage  391 and personal friends, jibing, and jeering, and framing deceitful arguments against us.

We were scarcely met at all on the real issue.

Thousands avowed our principles, but turned from us, professing to believe we meant more than we said.

No argument, which was true in fact, made any head-way against us. This we know.

We were constantly charged with seeking an amalgamation of the white and black races; and thousands turned from us, not believing the charge (no one believed it) but fearing to face it themselves.


[1]   AD, first page owned by IHi AD, second page, owned by William H. Diller, Springfield, Illinois. Two pages of notes in Lincoln's handwriting are identified by their contents as being those used on the occasion of the ratification meeting for Republican nominations for municipal officers of Chicago, held in Metropolitan Hall on Saturday evening, February 28, 1857.

[2]   Beginning of the second page as numbered by Lincoln. The continuity is tenuous, however, and the assumption that the unnumbered page printed preceding this one is the first page of one set of notes may not be justified. The contents of page two, however, reflect a similar retrospective view of the formation of the Republican party for its first major campaign in 1856, and each page is written on the same kind of paper. For these reasons the fragments have been linked as they are printed here for the first time.