Lincoln the Candidate

Lincoln the Candidate (HM138Q)

Location: Beardstown, IL 62618 Cass County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 1.021', W 90° 26.08'

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People in Cass County knew Abraham Lincoln not only as a lawyer but also as a candidate for the Illinois legislature and U.S. Congress. Those earlier campaigns allowed Lincoln to hone his political skills for the 1858 senatorial content that pitted Lincoln and the new Republican Party against Democrat incumbent Stephen A. Douglas. "Mr. Lincoln leaves tomorrow evening for Beardstown, where he will throw some of his hot shot into the Douglas camp, and charge home upon the doughface. It will be the work of Lincoln to show the people the truth and to paint the dodger as he is." a Chicago newspaper correspondent wrote from Springfield. Lincoln arrived in Beardstown the morning of August 12, 1858 aboard the steamer Sam Gaty. A Chicago newspaper reported that 300 to 400 people met Lincoln upon his arrival and escorted him as he rode by to the National Hotel. At 2:00 P.M., Lincoln walked to a platform in the public square, where he delivered a two-hour speech before a crowd estimated at 2,500 to 3,000 people. His supporters gave him a rousing sendoff as he boarded a steamboat for the trip to Havana.

Beardstown artist William Barnhart has depicted Lincoln addressing the enthusiastic crowd in Beardstown, August 12, 1858. The audience for this speech, Lincoln's first of the regular senatorial campaign, included citizens from Morgan and Schuyler counties as well as from Beardstown and the rest of Cass County. There were two bands, two military companies, and a mounted escort to make up for the lack of a cannon, sabotaged by the Democrats. Both Lincoln and Douglas spoke to crowds larger than previously seen in any campaign. In addition, the press coverage was nationwide, giving Lincoln, a relatively unknown politician, the reputation which would enable his successful presidential bit two years later.

While the 1858 Senatorial contest may be Abraham Lincoln's best known political campaign, his bid for Congress in 1846 may rank as his most bizarre because of one incident. Lincoln's Democratic opponent was the famed Methodist circuit rider, Peter Cartwright. Fearing the popular Lincoln would coast to victory, Cartwright stirred the pot toward the end of the campaign by claiming that Lincoln openly scoffed Christianity. Just days before the election, Lincoln issued a handbill refuting Cartwright's accusation. In it, he explained: "That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular." Though Cartwright's accusations had no obvious negative impact on the election-Lincoln won by an unprecedented margin-questions about his religious views continued throughout his live.

HM NumberHM138Q
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 7:41pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 718934 N 4432798
Decimal Degrees40.01701667, -90.43466667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 1.021', W 90° 26.08'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 1' 1.26" N, 90° 26' 4.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 W 2nd St, Beardstown IL 62618, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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