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

The Lost Speech

Looking for Lincoln

The Lost Speech Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 10, 2012
1. The Lost Speech Marker
This is a doubled sided marker, but the text is too long to include on one page.
"I look upon that enactment not as a 'law,' but as 'violence' from the beginning. It was conceived in violence, passed in violence, is maintained in violence, and is being executed in violence. I say it was 'conceived' in violence, because the destruction of the Missouri Compromise, under the circumstances, was nothing less than violence. It was 'passed' in violence, because it could not have passed at all but for the votes of many members in violence of the known will of their constituents. It is maintained in violence because the elections since, clearly demand its repeal, and this demand is openly disregarded." Such was Lincoln's anger regarding the Kansas-Nebraska Act displayed in an 1855 letter to friend and slaveholder Joshua Speed. Lincoln's speech here launched him as the leader of the Illinois Republican Party. In his new role as party leader, Lincoln was to lead Illinoisans in opposing their own Sen. Stephen A. Douglas and his policies. And in their political combat, across the 1858 senatorial race and the 1860 presidential race, Lincoln advanced the platform adopted in Bloomington, on May 29, 1856


Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
Sen. Stephen Douglas created a national crisis by legislation, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which permitted the expansion of slavery in the United States. Slavery was the defining characteristic of half of the United States in 1856. it was accepted in the Constitution, but its spread had been stopped through the Missouri Compromise in 1820. Many people though that opening the Kansas and Nebraska territories to slavery would result in a country dominated by slavery. In late May 1856, Illinoisans who despised that act gathered at a political convention, here at Major's Hall. Their intent was to collectively oppose the expansion of slavery through political action. The result was the formation of a new political party.

The speech Lincoln gave here in Major's Hall became known in the twentieth century as "The Lost Speech." No reliable text of that speech exists. Whatever he said, the disparate political elements who made up the convention were satisfied with it. The speech was a unifier. The Chicago Press reported, "Abraham Lincoln...made the speech of the occasion....Mr. Lincoln must write it out and let it go before all the people. For an hour and a half he held the assemblage spell-bound by the power of his argument, the intense irony of his invective and the deep earnestness and fervid brilliance of his eloquence. When he concluded, the audience sprang to their

Map of Free and Slave States image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 10, 2012
2. Map of Free and Slave States
feet, and cheer after cheer told how deeply that hearts had been touched and their souls warmed up to a generous enthusiasm.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansGovernment & Politics. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is May 29, 1856.
Location. 40° 28.72′ N, 88° 59.563′ W. Marker is in Bloomington, Illinois, in McLean County. Marker is at the intersection of S. East Street and Front Street on S. East Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bloomington IL 61701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named The Lost Speech (here, next to this marker); Major's Hall (here, next to this marker); Asahel Gridley's Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Miller-Davis Buildings (within shouting distance of this marker); Miller-Davis Building (within shouting distance of this marker); The National Hotel (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Rounds Block (about 400 feet away); Sigmund Livingston (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bloomington.
Abraham Lincoln,<br>Republican Candidate for the Presidency,<br>1860 image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
3. Abraham Lincoln,
Republican Candidate for the Presidency,
Lithograph by Leopold Grozelier.
The Lost Speech Marker image. Click for full size.
Internet Archive
4. The Lost Speech Marker
This Tablet Marks
The Site Where
Abraham Lincoln
Delivered his Famous
“Lost Speech”
May 29, 1856
Placed by
Letitia Green Stevenson Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution
May 29, 1918

From DAR Magazine Vol. LIII, No. 1, January 1919.
Major's Hall image. Click for full size.
Arthur Caldwell (courtesy of the Library of Congress), May 1, 1936
5. Major's Hall
May 1936 Photo by Arthur Caldwell.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 13, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 694 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 13, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   3, 4, 5. submitted on May 19, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
U.S. FTC REQUIRED NOTICE: This website earns income from qualified purchases you make on Thank you.
Paid Advertisements

Dec. 3, 2023