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"Stand firm. The tug has to come and better now, than any time hereafter". ~ Abraham Lincoln

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by Susan Phelps on 27 November 2013

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Transcript of "Stand firm. The tug has to come and better now, than any time hereafter". ~ Abraham Lincoln

Letter to Senator Lyman Trumbull
Lincoln Douglas Debates~ 1858

This rare 1860 political cartoon depicting Republican Thaddeus Stevens as a Northern doctor intent on "fixing" the South via constitutional amendment (artificial leg). The cartoonist expresses the disdain some southern radicals had for any compromises with the North. Imminent death and destruction are in the background of the cartoon.


Southern Opposition to Secession

Lincoln lived here from 1844- 1861 and strategized how to deal with the growing divide in the nation following his election from here.
from 1844-1861
Lincoln wrote to numerous politicians and influential friends in private letters urging them to support his position on stopping slavery's expansion. He sought to reassure the South but would not bend on his position that slavery be contained where it existed.


"White Crow" and Unionist, Gilmer, with growing opposition to LIncoln's election, John Gilmer urged Lincoln to issue statements reassuring the South that he would protect their slavery interests. In a private letter, one of several written to lawmakers around the country, Lincoln wrote to Gilmer and said" You think slavery is right and ought to be extended, we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. For this, neither has any just occasion to be angry with the other." ( Lincoln to Gilmer)
Rep. John Gilmer of N.C.
Lincoln Home, Springfield IL.
Lincoln Letter to Henry Raymond
December 18, 1860
On February 27, 1860 Lincoln spoke at the Cooper Institute before a crowd of prominent Republican leaders.
"Drawing from the writings of Chase and Greeley
and from his own research
Lincoln illustrated how the founders voted again and again to let Congress regulate slavery in the
territories." (Stephen Oates,
With Malice Towards None)
Considered one of Lincoln's most important speeches , this address garnered him the attention of his party and propelled him to become the Republican candidate for president.
Author Harold Holzer described it as “Lincoln’s watershed, the event that transformed him from a regional leader into a national phenomenon. Here the politician known as frontier debater and chronic jokester introduced a new oratorical style: informed by history, suffused with moral certainty, and marked by lawyerly precision." (Holzer American Heritage Magazine, April/May 2004)

Cooper Institute, NYC
Photo taken by Matthew Brady in New York City shortly before Lincoln's address at the Cooper Union.
From August 21st to October 15th, 1860 Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas battled for a U.S. Senate seat. The seven debates, held throughout the state of Illinois gained Lincoln national attention. Although he lost the race, the national press coverage helped to define the issue of slavery in time for the 1860 presidential election.
"Congressional Surgery, Legislative Quackery."

This NY Times map shows the fact that Southerners were divided over secession. Those opposed, referred to as "Unionists or White Crows", made tremendous attempts to preserve the Union and work out a compromise with the new president over the issue of slavery's expansion, the Fugitive Slave Law and other rights of property owners in the South.
(See John Gilmer)
------
Senator Lyman Trumbull, a longtime Lincoln friend from Illiniois, served in the Senate during the Secessionist Crisis. As Lincoln sought to maintain the position of his party on the issue of slavery's expansion into the territories, members of Congress endured pressure to make concession from business and other members from the South and North who knew that civil war was a real possibility. Lincoln wrote a private note to Trumbull encouraging him to "stand firm".
Be sure you put your feet in the right place and then stand firm."~ Abraham Lincoln
" Put your feet in the right place and then stand firm." ~ A. Lincoln
Lincoln- Douglas Debates
As the 1858 campaign for U.S. Senate began, Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of 7 debates and from August 21st through October 15th, 1858. The pair traveled throughout Illinois with Douglas continuing to promote the idea of popular sovereignty in the territories. Lincoln countered with his belief that slavery should not expand. The exchanges were covered by the national press and helped to define the 1860 race for president. Lincoln lost the election, but he had gained widespread attention in both sections of the country.
Dec 10, 1860
Lincoln-Douglas Debates~ 1858
On June 16, 1858, Lincoln said in the Old Illinois State Capitol , " A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the house to fall- but expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other." It was on this occasion that he accepted the Republican Party's nomination for U.S. Senate running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas.
"We are elected!"
On November 6, 1860 Lincoln won the 1860 presidency over a field of 3 other candidates, including his old adversary Stephen Douglas. Although he did not even appear on the ballot in ten Southern states, Lincoln garnered 59.4% of the electoral vote and 39.65 5 of the popular vote. He woke his wife Mary in the early morning hours of November 7, 1860, and told her "Mary, Mary, we are elected!"
Dred Scott vs. Sandford, 1857
In March 1857 the case of a slave,
Dred Scott, v. Sandford, reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The basis of the case was whether Scott was entitled to his freedom having lived for 5 years in free territory with his master. Behind the efforts for Scott were a group of wealthy abolitionists. The court ruled in a split decision, that Scott was slave not a citizen and had no right to sue in federal court. Further, the majority wrote that citizens could not be denied their right to property, as slaves were viewed. Further the Court wrote that slaveholders had the right to take slaves wherever they wished under the 5th amendment. The Northern reaction was chilly to the 7-2 decision by the Court especially in light of it's challenge to the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854. U.S. Senator from Illinois, Stephen Douglas applauded the decision, despite it's challenges to the law he had sponsored. Republicans were appalled by the decision but Lincoln, took his time in responding publicly. In June 1857 he publicly charged the Chief Justice and Douglas with working together to expand slavery. The case impacted his political position and would be the basis of his 1858 and 1860 campaigns for national office.
Henry Raymond, New York Politician, Lt. Governor, and co- founder of the New York Times was sometimes called the "Father of the Republican Party". In December 1860 he sent Lincoln a letter he had received from a Vicksburg, Miss. businessman named William Smedes. The Southern Democrat wrote to Raymond making numerous false allegations about Lincoln including being a "Black Republican" . He concluded his letter with "God should smite Lincoln by lightning". Lincoln responded to Raymond by writing ,
" What a very mad-man your correspondent, Smedes is. Mr. Lincoln is not pledged to the ultimate extinction of slavery, does not hold the black man to be the equal of the white and Mr. S. can not prove one of his assertions is true."
December 10, 1860
Crittenden Compromise
Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky proposed what would be the most well known of several compromise bills designed to avert the secessionist crisis that followed Lincoln's election. Mentored by Henry Clay, author of the the Compromise of 1820 and 1850, Crittenden would be unsuccessful.
South Carolina Secedes
On December 20, l860, in South Carolina, a special convention voted unanimously to secede from the Union. By April a long, bloody Civil War would begin that would last until April of 1865 at a cost of over 620,000 lives.
A CURE FOR REPUBLICAN LOCKJAW
This 1861 cartoon depicts members of Congress trying to force a compromise "pill" down Lincoln's throat. Republicans held firm to their party's platform at the urging of the newly elected president who holds a scroll labeled
" Republican Platform, No Compromise."
(Source: Library of Congress)
House Divided Speech
"Let here be no compromise on the question of extending slavery. If there be , all our labor is lost, and ere long, must be done again. No dangerous ground-that into which some of our friends are hankering to run- is pop. sov. Have none of it. Stand firm. The tug has to come and better now, than any time hereafter."
~Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull. (12/10/1860)
Lincoln's First Crisis

Susan Williams Phelps
Binghamton High School
See the full transcript