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Abraham Lincoln's Political Activities in the 1850's

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Lincoln in the Illinois House & U.S. Congress

Abraham Lincoln's Political Activities in the 1850's

1854, re-enters politics opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Elected to Illinois legislature but declines the seat in order to try to become U.S. Senator.

1854, does not get chosen by the Illinois legislature to be U.S. Senator.

May 29, 1856, helps organize the new Republican party of Illinois. At the first Republican convention Lincoln gets 110 votes for the vice-presidential nomination, bringing him national attention. Campaigns in Illinois for Republican presidential candidate, John C. Frémont.

June 26, 1857, in Springfield, Lincoln speaks against the Dred Scott Decision.

June 16, 1858, nominated to be the Republican senator from Illinois, opposing Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. Gives "House Divided speech" at the state convention in Springfield. Also engages Douglas in a series of seven debates with big audiences.

1858, Illinois legislature chooses Douglas for the U.S. Senate over Lincoln by a vote of 54 to 46.


The Major Parties of the early and mid-19th Century


Their Platform

Franklin Pierce: President 1852-1856

James Buchanan: President 1856-1860

Stephen Douglas: Presidential candidate 1860, lost to Abraham Lincoln







Southern Democrat Party

Their Platform

John Breckinridge: Presidential candidate in 1860 (lost)








American Party

(Also known as the Know Nothing Party)

Their Platform

Millard Fillmore: President 1850-51 (finished Zachary Taylor's term, and was not nominated for his own term)







The Whigs

Their Platform

Zachary Taylor: President 1848-1850 (died in office)

Winfield Scott: Presidential candidate 1852  (lost)







Other Parties of the early and mid-19th Century


The Know-Nothing Party

(Also known as the American Party)

Their Platform









Free-Soil Party

Formed from the Liberty Party in 1848

Their Platform

John P. Hale: 1852 Presidential candidate (lost)






 Constitutional Union Party, Election of 1860)

Their Platform

John Bell: 1860 Presidential candidate (lost)





Liberty Party

Became Free Soil Party in 1848

Their Platform


Gerrit Smith: 1848 & 1852 (lost)




Republican Party

Their Platform

John Frémont: 1856 Presidential candidate

Abraham Lincoln:  President 1860-1865 (was assassinated April 13, 1865)





Visit National Park Service for a Listing of 1860's Politicians

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