Lincoln's 1854 Visit

Lincoln's 1854 Visit (HM13WR)

Location: Quincy, IL 62301 Adams County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.925', W 91° 24.446'

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On November 1, 1854 an incensed Lincoln attached the immorality of slavery in a speech at Kendall Hall. Lincoln was awakened from a five-bear political slumber by Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska Act, attacking it in a series of speeches in central Illinois in late 1854. Lincoln's Quincy friend Abraham Jonas invited him to address the Kansas-Nebraska question here on behalf of the Congressional candidacy of Archibald Williams. Jonas predicted a payoff to Lincoln politically. "Whigs would be much gratified if you us a visit while the little giant is here," Jonas wrote. "It is believed by all who know you, that a reply from you, would be more effective than from any other—-I trust you may be able to pay us a visit and thereby create a debt of gratitude on the part of Whigs here..." Lincoln accepted, speaking to an enthusiastic crowd at Kendall Hall. He attacked slavery, former Quincyan Douglas, and the idea of popular sovereignty. Quincyans would hear similar themes when Lincoln returned four years later to debate Douglas, October 13, 1858.

Construction of Orrin Kendall's building on the southwest corner of Sixth and Maine was completed on October 5, 1852. The impressive three-story brick building housed his cracker and confectionery business in the basement and featured a large public hall the full size of the building (50' x 80') on the second floor. Meetings were held in Kendall Hall almost every evening in 1854 with politics at a fever pitch. Speakers on the Nebraska question included James W. Singleton, Orville H. Browning, and Lincoln. Lincoln's appearance in 1854 at this site was in support of the Congressional campaign of his long-time Quincy friend Archibald Williams.

Lincoln's political genius was demonstrated by his approach to an attempted political smear. During the 1860 presidential primary campaign, Abraham Jonas wrote Lincoln that local Democrat Issac N. Morris was seeking affidavits from "certain Irishmen" that they saw Lincoln come out of a Quincy Know-Nothing Lodge. The Know-Nothing political party opposed immigration and election of Catholics to political office. Lincoln recognized that such a charge could cost him the vote of the large German and Irish population—-and a denial, the vote of the Know-Nothings, who opposed slavery's extension. Lincoln told Jonas, "it must not publicly appear that I am paying any attention to the charge." He suggested that Jonas get affidavits from "respectable men who were always in the lodge and never saw me there." The ploy worked, and the matter never became public.

HM NumberHM13WR
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 11:16pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 636078 N 4421433
Decimal Degrees39.93208333, -91.40743333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.925', W 91° 24.446'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 55.50" N, 91° 24' 26.76" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 Jail Alley, Quincy IL 62301, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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