Let Us All Be United
Looking for Lincoln
By 1856 Abraham Lincoln had realized that his former political party, the Whigs, was in ruins. The political landscape had changed to the point that Lincoln accepted an invitation to attend an Anti-Nebraska Editors Convention held at the Cassell House in Decatur, Illinois, on George Washington's birthday, February 22, 1856. Lincoln was the only politician invited to attend. The rest of the delegates were Illinois newspaper editors who were opposed to the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. The act had repealed the 1820 Missouri Compromise prohibiting slavery in federal territory north of a designated geographic line. The repeal would effectively allow slavery to spread into any federal territory voting for it. The Anti0Nebraska Editors therefore stated that they were "in favor of restoration of the Missouri Compromise: and "the restriction of Slavery to its present authorized limits." Later that May a second convention was held in Bloomington, Illinois. With the principles established by the Anti-Nebraska Editors Convention in February as its guide, the Bloomington Convention formally established the Republican Party
In 1820 the Missouri Compromise was passed by Congress. The Compromise had placed the spread of slavery into the federal territories on a course that Abraham Lincoln felt would lead to its "ultimate extinction." After the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed many Congressional leaders, chiefly Lincoln's Illinois political adversary and sponsor of the 1854 Act, Senator Stephen A. Douglas, tried to allow for the question of slavery to be "voted up or voted down." Senator Douglas' "Popular Sovereignty" doctrine had become a national issue.
During the early part of the 1850's, national and Illinois politics were in turmoil. With the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, the old political division of the Democratic and the Whig parties had been destroyed. Nowhere was this more evident than in Illinois. Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon had attempted to join a new party, but many of Lincoln's friends wand relatives, especially John Todd Stuart, had told Lincoln he would be ruining his political future by joining the "Abolition" party that Herndon supported. Lincoln declined the invitation to join, but by 1855 he wrote to his good friend Joshua Speed, "I think I am a whig; but others say there are no whigs." Lincoln was at his political crossroads.
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Location. 39° 50.475′ N, 88° 57.361′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Illinois, in Macon County. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: South Main Street, Decatur IL 62522, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Macon County's First Court House (here, next to this marker); Coming to Illinois (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln on the Circuit (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln's First Speech (within shouting distance of this marker); Abraham Lincoln's First Political Speech (within shouting distance of this marker); Choosing a President (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Wake Up, Lincoln! (about 400 feet away); Finding the Biggest Man (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Decatur.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 28, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 715 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 28, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.