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Examiner
  • Ted Stillwell: Lincoln’s campaign gathered traction with visit to the area

  • Abraham Lincoln and nearby Leavenworth are inseparable, because when Lincoln first started campaigning as a Republican candidate for the president of the United States, he attracted very little attention. It was not until he hit the border town of Leavenworth to campaign back in 1859 during the height of the Border Wars that he was taken seriously.

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  • Sen. Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which became law in May 1854, establishing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. The Missouri Compromise was tossed out, which forbade any new slave states coming into the nation from the western territories. Congress instead decided to let Kansas come in as either a slave state or a free state by way of popular vote, and this was the beginning of the long, slippery slope toward the Border Wars.
    Abraham Lincoln, of course, was dead set against slavery and four years later in 1858, Lincoln debated with Stephen Douglas in a campaign for the U.S. Senate, which thrust Lincoln into the limelight as an abolitionist.
    Abraham Lincoln and nearby Leavenworth are inseparable, because when Lincoln first started campaigning as a Republican candidate for the president of the United States, he attracted very little attention. It was not until he hit the border town of Leavenworth to campaign back in 1859 during the height of the Border Wars that he was taken seriously. The visit to our neck of the woods turned the tides for him as his reception here attracted thousands of people to his audience and converting his hosts to outspoken advocates of abolition.
    Lincoln’s audiences continued to grow and he was nominated for president when the Republicans held their 1860 convention in Chicago. On March 4, 1861, Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States. The Civil War began just weeks after Lincoln took office, and ended only days before his death on April 14, 1865. Though he had longed to see the rebuilding of the nation, it would seem that God had specifically chosen and destined him for the task of guiding the young nation through the Civil War, its darkest days.
    Lincoln’s most famous speech as president was the Gettysburg Address when the Gettysburg battlefield was dedicated as a national cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863:
    “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
    “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, but, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
    Page 2 of 2 - There are actually five (or more) versions of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. This is the version that appears on the Lincoln Monument in Washington, D.C. and does indeed contain the words “under God.”
    Reference: “Our Fifty States” by Earl Schenck Miers
    In cooperation with The Examiner, Ted W. Stillwell is available to speak before any club, church, civic, senior or school groups.
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