Abraham Lincoln. 16th U.S. President by Kekla Magoon

By Kekla Magoon

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He wrote to other Republicans, urging them to stand fast on the issue of slavery. He seemed to believe that, in the long run, Southerners would be more committed to the Union than to the institution of slavery. He was wrong. On February 11, 1861, Lincoln bid an emotional farewell to his friends, colleagues, and supporters in Springfield. , to begin the transition into the White House. The stirring speech he delivered at the train depot hinted to the fact that he would never return. On some level, the departure must have felt permanent to Lincoln.

Lincoln foresaw, as many people did, that the country was heading for a difficult crossroads. Since Douglas already held the office, he had an advantage over Lincoln in the Senate race. Lincoln knew he had to give voters a chance to get to know him and to compare his views with Douglas’s. He challenged Douglas to debate him on the issue of slavery. Douglas agreed. The men met several times to debate before voters throughout Illinois. The seven encounters 4 • 43 • Essential Lives The Lincoln-Douglas debate in Galesburg, Illinois, drew a large crowd.

Willie’s death devastated the family. Mary Lincoln fell into a deep mourning that lasted for more than a year.

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