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Sunday, February 21, 2010

CWSS - The Cooper Union Address

Civil War Sesquicentennial Sunday (CWSS) - The Cooper Union Address

I will begin this new series of reports on 20 Feb 2010 with a story about the speech by Abraham Lincoln on 27 Feb 1860 (150 years ago this week) that became known as the Cooper Union Address. See the text of the actual speech at Cooper Union Address online.

In October 1859, following the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates in Illinois in 1859, Abraham Lincoln accepted an invitation to speak in New York, home of a known major candidate for the presidential race in 1860, William Seward. Of Lincoln's preparation for this particular speech, his law partner William Herndon noted: "No former effort in the line of speech-making had cost Lincoln so much time and thought as this one." This in spite of the earlier debates.

The resulting speech examined the views of the 39 signers of the Constitution. Lincoln noted that at least 21 of them, that is, a majority, believed Congress should control slavery in the territories and not allow it to expand. He found the the current Republican stance was not revolutionary but was similar to those of the Founding Fathers - this should not be alarming, therefore, to Southerners.

Thomas Crump is his book on Lincoln states that the Cooper Union speech was a triumph for Lincoln. He reports that Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune declared that "Mr Lincoln is one of nature's orators, using his rare powers solely and effectively to elucidate and convince, though their inevitable effect is to delight and electrify as well."

Four New York newspapers printed the full text of speech; these were reprinted across the country. In a very short time, Lincoln was clearly, himself, an "unannounced presidential aspirant."

In addition to the links, above, this story was sourced from the book:
"Abraham Lincoln's World
: How Riverboats, Railroads, and Republicans Transformed America," by Thomas Crump

Families are Forever!  ;-)

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