Born into a modest farm family in kentucky in 1809

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Born into a modest farm family in Kentucky in 1809 Had moved as a youth to frontier Indiana and then Illinois. Began running for public office at the age of 21 Not until the mid-1850s his career hardly seemed destined for greatness. o He had served four terms as a Whig in the state legislature o One in Congress from 1847 to 1849 The Kansas-Nebraska Act swept Lincoln back into politics in 1854. o He once said that he “hated slavery as much as any abolitionist.” o Unlike abolitionists, however, Lincoln was “I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down,” he once wrote of fugitive slaves, “but I bite my lip and keep silent.” o But on one question he was inflexible. Lincoln developed a critique of slavery and its expansion that gave voice to o The central values of the emerging o His speeches combined the
but also the respect for order and the Constitution of more conservative northerners. “I hate it,” he said in 1854 of the prospect of slavery’s expansion, “because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world— enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity.” If slavery were allowed to expand, he warned, the “love of liberty” would be extinguished and with it America’s special mission to be a symbol of democracy for the entire world. Even though he lived in a society firmly in the grasp of the market revolution, and worked on occasion as an attorney for the Illinois Central Railroad, one of the nation’s largest corporations, Lincoln’s America was the world of the small producer. o In a sense, his own life personified the free labor ideology and the opportunities northern society offered to laboring men. o During the 1850s, property-owning farmers, artisans, and shopkeepers far outnumbered wage earners in Illinois. o Lincoln was fascinated and disturbed by the writings of proslavery ideologues like George Fitzhugh, and he rose to the defense of northern society. o “I want every man to have the chance,” said Lincoln, “and I believe a black man is entitled to it, in which he can better his condition.” o Blacks might not be the equal of whites in all respects, but in their “natural right” to the fruits of their labor, they were “my equal and the equal of all others.” The Lincoln—Douglas Campaign John Brown at Harpers Ferry An armed assault by an abolitionist on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, further heightened sectional tensions. o John Brown In the 1830s and 1840s Although chronically in debt o He helped finance antislavery publications Like other abolitionists o He was deeply religious man But his God was not the forgiving Jesus of the revivals, who encouraged men to save themselves through conversion Instead, he was the vengeful Father of the Old Testament.

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