Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Speech at Springfield, Illinois [1]

October 15, 1859

We have not space, of course, to give anything like a report of Mr. Lincoln's speech. Although entirely unpremeditated, it was in every respect, one of the ablest we have ever heard him deliver. He set out by alluding to the fact that Judge Douglas and himself fully agreed upon one point as set forth in Douglas' Columbus speech, viz: that the fathers of this Government understood its powers over the institution of slavery better than we do now; and he proceeded to show that the Democratic party had departed from the old land marks; and set up a new theory and a different policy, and at their present rate of progress, would speedily make slavery a national institution, over which even the states should exercise no control. In this the Democracy were resisted and must be resisted by the Republicans; that their position was identical, so far as the slavery question is concerned, with that occupied by the founders of the Government; and referred to the recent glorious victories achieved by the Republicans in Ohio and other States as clearly indicative that the good old doctrines of the fathers of the Republic would yet again prevail, and become the rule of action of the Government. He continued his remarks at considerable length, and made many strong points, which again and again brought down the crowd.


[1]   Illinois State Journal, October 18, 1859. Upon Lincoln's return to Springfield from Clinton, on Saturday night a Republican victory parade marched to the Lincoln home. Following a tribute by Dr. William Jayne, Lincoln was invited to proceed to the state house and address the assembled citizens in the Capitol's rotunda. The brief summary of the speech given by the Journal is the most complete report available.