“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Decatur in Macon County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Choosing a President

Choosing a President Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 8, 2012
1. Choosing a President Marker
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

Choosing a President Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 8, 2012
2. Choosing a President Marker
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.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 39° 50.524′ N, 88° 57.324′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Illinois, in Macon County. Marker is at the intersection of West Prairie Ave. and North Main Street on West Prairie Ave.. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Decatur IL 62523, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Abraham Lincoln's First Political Speech (within shouting distance of this marker); The Railsplitter Candidate (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Macon County's First Court House (about 300 feet away); Let Us All Be United (about 300 feet away); The Transfer House (about 600 feet away); Lincoln's Legacy (about 600 feet away); Birthplace of the Grand Army of the Republic (about 600 feet away); Music Please, Maestro (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Decatur.
Categories. Politics

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 274 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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