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05-01-2017, 01:02 PM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2017 01:10 PM by David Lockmiller.)
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RE: Tribute
(04-24-2017 03:31 PM)Gene C Wrote:  I am also thinking of the interest Mary Todd shared on politics.

I was rereading last night portions of Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals" and came across this relevant section at pages 208-210.

The seventh and last debate took place at Alton, a town on the Mississippi River in southwest Illinois, before an audience Lincoln described as "having strong sympathies southward by relationship, place of birth, and so on." By the middle of the day, the "whole town" was "alive and stirring with large masses of human beings." Gustave Koerner, a leader of the German-Americans, was among the throng that came to witness the show. "More than a thousand Douglas men," Koerner wrote, "had chartered a boat to attend the Alton meeting," while Lincoln "had come quietly down from Springfield with his wife that morning,unobserved. . . . He was soon surrounded by a crowd of Republicans; but there was no parade or fuss, while Douglas, about noon, made his pompous entry, and soon afterwards the boat from St. Louis landed at the wharf, heralded by the firing of guns and the strains of martial music."

When Koerner reached Lincoln's hotel, he found him seated in the lobby. No sooner had they said hello than Lincoln suggested that they go together to "see Mary." Apparently, Mary was "rather dispirited" about his chances for victory, and Lincoln hoped that Koerner would lift her mood. Koerner told Mary that he was "certain" the Republicans would carry the state in the popular vote, and "tolerably certain of our carrying the Legislature."

Koerner believed that Lincoln's speech included "some of the finest passages of all the speeches he ever made." The "real issue," Lincoln argued, was "the eternal struggle between . . . right and wrong"; the "common right of humanity" set against "the divine right of kings. . . . It is the same spirit that says, 'You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle." With this, Lincoln took his seat, Douglas made his concluding remarks, and the great debates came to an end.

It was a dreary day, November 2, 1858, when the voters of Illinois went to the polls. The names of Lincoln and Douglas did not appear on the ballots, since the state legislature would choose the next senator. That evening, Lincoln anxiously awaited the returns with his friends in the telegraph office. Once again, he would be sorely disappointed. Though the Republicans had won the popular vote, the Democrats had retained control of the state legislature, thereby ensuring Douglas' reelection. Lincoln's supporters . . . blam[ed] an unfair apportionment scheme. Koerner charged that "by the gerrymandering the State seven hundred Democratic votes were equal to one thousand Republican votes."

Yet this defeat left Lincoln far less disheartened than his loss four years earlier. He had won the vote of the people. "I am glad I made the late race," he wrote his Springfield friend Dr. Anson Henry on November 19. It gave me a hearing on the great and durable question of the age, which I could have had in no other way. . . . I believe I have made some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty . . . . That cause "must not be surrendered at the end of one, or even one hundred defeats."

There was no reason for despondency, he told another friend, Dr. Charles Ray, who continued to brood over Lincoln's defeat. "You will soon feel better. Another blow-up is coming."

{I believe that this latter statement was a reference to the affirmative response by Douglas to Lincoln's second interrogatory at the Freeport debate: "Can the people of a United States Territory, in any lawful way against the wishes of citizens of the United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a state constitution?"

Lincoln responded to his own supporters who argued that he should not ask the question: "Don't you see that if Douglas replies in the way you imagine he will, he would lose every supporter he expects to get in the South, and, under the Democratic rule of requiring a two-thirds majority to nominate, it would be impossible for him to be a successful candidate of the Democratic party in 1860? Now, on the other hand, if he should reply in the negative, . . . Douglas would stand a mighty slim chance of being elected to the Senate, and he would probably render it impossible if he were nominated to carry any Northern State."

The South grew more and more hostile and implacable towards him as they studied his Freeport reply to Lincoln, and finally came to believe that he was an unsafe man for them to support for the Presidency; and they took the desperate resolution to defeat him at all hazards and let the Republicans have the Presidency.

Source: Joseph Medill, Chicago Tribune, March 19, 1895.}

What an irony! The South, by their action in denying Douglas the Democratic Party nomination, defeated the man who had served their purpose with the repeal of the Missouri Compromise.

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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