Choosing a President

Choosing a President (HM12K9)

Location: Decatur, IL 62523 Macon County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 50.524', W 88° 57.324'

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In February 1860 the Illinois State Republican Central Committee met in Springfield, Illinois. There the Committee selected Decatur as the site for the upcoming State Republican Convention. The site selected for the Convention was located on South State Street and occupied both the street itself and the vacant lots on either side. the entrance faced South Park Street. The Convention went largely to plan by the Republican delegates, notwithstanding attempts by some northern Illinois delegates to vote for William Seward. On May 10th the Convention passed the following resolution: That Abraham Lincoln is the first choice of Illinois for the Presidency, and that our delegates be instructed to use all honorable means for his nomination at the Chicago convention, and to cast their votes as a unit for him." Less than a week later the National Republican Convention opened in Chicago, and true to instructions, the Illinois delegates nominated Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency - a move that was to gain Lincoln the coveted nomination for President. This nomination, started in Decatur, ultimately led to Abraham Lincoln being elected President in November 1860.

Top Illustration
Borrowing from the Native American definition of a "temporary structure," the Republican "Wigwam" was made ready for the opening of the Convention on May 9, 1860. The structure needed to be large enough to accommodate 2,500 people. To do so would require an enclosure 100 feet wide and seventy feet deep. To allow for this, Richard Oglesby, future three-term governor, one-term U. S. Senator from Illinois, and a Decatur resident secured a large tent for the purpose, supposedly supplied by a circus company. The only wooden components were the speaker's stand and the poles that held the tent up.

An interesting and humorous event occurred shortly after the beginning of the convention, while Lincoln tried to maintain an unassuming role. As the convention began, Richard Oglesby, promptly made a motion: "I am informed that a distinguished citizen of Illinois and one whom Illinois will ever delight to honor is present, and I wish to move that this body invite him to a seat on the stand - Abraham Lincoln." The delegates roared loudly trying to push Lincoln through the immense crowd to the front of the stage. The crowd, however, was too dense for Lincoln to penetrate. he was then lifted bodily into the air - the delegates called it "troosted" - and passed over the heads and shoulders of the audience. Much to Lincoln's relief, he was finally passed to the stand, taking his seat to the continuing roar of the crowd.

HM NumberHM12K9
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 12:50am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 332697 N 4412057
Decimal Degrees39.84206667, -88.95540000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 50.524', W 88° 57.324'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 50' 31.44" N, 88° 57' 19.44" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 142 N Merchant St, Decatur IL 62523, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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