In politics the young statesman was of the minority faction. The Democratic party was dominant in both his State and the nation, such opposition as there was holding loosely to gether under the nondescript name of Whigs; but it gradually strengthened until in 1840 its presidential candidate (Harrison) was elected. In 1838 and again in 1840 Lincoln received the Whig vote for speaker of the assembly. He was also on the Whig electoral ticket in the campaigns of 1840, 1844 and 1852. His one election to Congress occurred in 1846, the term ending at the inauguration of the second Whig President (Taylor) 4 March 1849. He did not seek re-election, his district being governed by a kind of a agree ent° that the honor should be passed around. Meanwhile (4 Nov. 1842) he wa n o Mary Todd, daughter of Robert S. Todd of Louisville, Ky. She with two of their four sons lived to mourn his untimely death. One of the sons died in early infancy, another in the White House at the age of 12. Mrs. Lincoln was of high social rank, brilliant, cultured and ambitious. She proved a devoted wife and mother, but by rea son of a cerebral ailment not generally known her married life was not altogether happy. Her last days (1882) were clouded by a mild insan ity, hastened no doubt by the awful tragedy en acted in her presence and by the loss of her young son Thomas ("Tad"), who died 15 July 1871. The political activities referred to of course retarded Mr. Lincoln's progress in the law. Besides the legislative attendances at home and in Washington, there were repeated canvasses of his district and State to be cared for and no end of letters and conferences. As a "case" lawyer, however, his reputation stead ily widened. The death of President Harrison almost at the beginning of his term and the early apostacy of Tyler, his successor, left noth ing of Federal preferment to the Whig poli ticians. The advent of Taylor opened the door to a hungry crowd. Lincoln had supported him by speeches in Congress and elsewhere and the new Congressman from the Spring field district was of the opposite party. By current ,practice, therefore, Lincoln was en titled to a voice touching Federal appointments. The office of land commissioner was accorded to Illinois. After recommending others with out success he sought the place for himself. Instead he was offered the governorship of Ore gon Territory, a post which seemed to prom ise early promotion to the Senate. His wife rejected it and thus he was saved for greater things. During the next five years he practised law more assiduously than every before, ad vancing to high rank among the leaders of the Illinois bar. He appreciated the handicap of a defective education and strove mightily to over come it. As he had studied grammar and sur veying at New Salem he now grappled geom etry, in order as he said to master the art of ((demonstration." But political events were soon to reclaim his attention. The controversy over slavery, measurably quieted by the Mis souri Compromise of 1820, broke out afresh 30 years later and was again partially sup pressed through a series of Congressional acts known as the compromise measures of 1850. Within a short four years the slave-holding South demanded and obtained the overthrow of all legislation which tended to confine or dis credit her favorite institution. Stephen A. Douglas, the leading senator from Illinois, was chairman of the Committee on Territories. He had championed the settlement of 1850, and in doing so had proclaimed undying allegiance to the Missouri Compromise whereby "Mason and Dixon's .Lines was made the northernmost limit of slavery. Now he had fathered the °Kansas-Nebraska bill? the act which both in terms and by necessary implication rejected the compromises and denied their legality. His agency in the matter made the storm of pro test especially violent in Illinois and Lincoln was thoroughly aroused. Douglas had great ability and towering ambition. He desired and expected to be President, having already con tested the nomination of 1852. His advocacy of the repeal was likely, he believed, to ensure undivided support in the South 'which, with but a fraction of the Northern party strength, would give him the prize. His term in the Senate had yet four years to run but his col league and friend from Illinois, James Shields, would be re-elected or replaced by the legisla ture shortly to be chosen. Lincoln entered the contest with vigor, speaking throughout the State and (against his own preference) stand ing for election to the lower house from San gamon, his home county. "Anti-Nebraska" won by a slender margin and by general ac claim Lincoln became its candidate. To avoid a legal quibble touching eligibility he resigned his membership, only to see the vacancy filled by a Democrat chosen at a special election. Five of the majority, formerly Democrats, re fused to support him, preferring Lyman Trum bull, one of their kind. After many ballots, the choice of a pro-slavery senator being immi nent, he persuaded his friends to vote with the stubborn few; a fortunate outcome as it proved, though for the moment sorely disap pointing.
The events of 1854-55 thus lightly sketched were accompanied and followed by a bitter struggle for the control of Kansas, first of the new States to seek admittance. Settlers from the North, some of them aided by anti slavery societies, were met by Thorder-ruffians" so-called, entering from Missouri. Armed con flicts ensued and uBleeding Kansas') became an effective war-cry from the free State hustings. The Democratic National Convention (1856) again rejected Douglas, naming James Buch anan, a Pennsylvanian, who was less prominent in the slavery party and therefore less ob noxious to its enemies. The various opposing elements drawing together under the name of Republicans met in mass convention. at Phila delphia and selected John C. Fremont as their standard bearer. Lincoln, though not in at tendance and not in the least advised of any such purpose, was accorded 110 votes for the Vice-Presidency, making him the second choice in a field of 13. A third ticket, styled "Amer ican,b was headed by Millard Fillmore, who had become President upon the death of Taylor (1850), and greatly desired re-election. Buch anan was elected, carrying every slave State ex cept Maryland. Pennsylvania supported him by a bare majority of the popular vote, and three other free States, including Illinois, went to him, but only because the majority was divided between Fremont and Fillmore. Slav ery was continued in official power, but the triumph was big with disaster.
The new administration was wholly sub servient. Unscrupulous efforts to force slavery upon unwilling Kansas were favored and seemed likely to succeed. Douglas, whose senatorial term was drawing to a close, could not lose his hold upon Illinois without aban doning all hopes of the Presidency. Making a virtue of necessity, therefore, he resisted the Kansas intrigues, and the State came in with a free constitution. This strategy worked marvelous improvement in his prospects at home. In 1854 when he returned red-handed from the slaughter of compromise he had encountered public obloquy and sullen resent ment, resulting as already noted in the choice of a colleague inimical to his party. Now he came as the hero of a knightly rescue; the savior of free Kansas in some eyes, to others a stern defender of justice unshaken by per sonal risk. Republicans in and out of the State began to advise that his re-election be not op posed, deeming it "good politics" thus to pro mote schism in the enemy's household. Lincoln moved promptly to .steady the Republican phalanx and the danger soon passed. Partly to head off the threatened defection, in pant to bind the new legislature by a definite man date from the people, a convention called for the nomination of State officers named Lincoln for the Senate: He responded (16 June 1858) in a speech which exhibited at their best both his intellectual power and his rare facility of terse and accurate expression. In this, the much-quoted speech, the truth was first made plain that choice must be made, soon or late, between a nation all stave and a nation all free. In declaring his fixed opinion that "either the opponents of slavery will ar rest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States," he was by no means unminded of the personal i and party hazards immediately involved; but with habitual thoroughness his mind had gone deep. To his thinking the rock upon which his party must build was the basic antagonism between freedom and bondage, between liberty and tyranny, between right and wrong. Re jecting the warnings of timid advisers to whom the address was submitted in advance he stood by the truth as he saw it. The ensuing cam paign, outwardly but a mere struggle for office, drew the lines and marshaled the forces of the impending Civil War. It took the form indeed of mimic battle. A series of joint debates, one in each of the seven Congressional districts, was arranged at Lincoln's instance. Vast audi ences came to hear and the sneeches steno graphically reported were carried far on the wings of the press. The two champions were not unequally matched for the contest. i Doug las, of course, had signal advantages n long parliamentary training and national fame. He was fluent, aggressive and courageous even to recklessness, with a quick eye to exposed points of attack. But as compared with Lincoln he was in truth the "little giant' with emphasis on the first branch of his familiar sobriquet. Lin coln, the taller by eight inches or more, was of corresponding intellectual reach. Less volu ble, less gifted in voice and exterior attractive ness, he was more thoughtful, better tempered, surer in his knowledge of the history involved and far above Douglas in the saving quality of humor. His own estimate of the comparative merits of their speeches was expressed late in the following year when he caused both to be reprinted side by side, for campaign pur poses, without change and °without any com ment whatever.' The State was carried on the popular vote, but the existing apportionment gave the advan tage to Douglas who was returned to the Senate by a majority of five. Commenting upon the outcome Lincoln wrote 19 November, °I am glad I made the late race. It gave me a hearing on the great and enduring question of the age, which I could have had no other way; and though I now sink out of view, and shall be forgotten, I believe I have made some marks which will tell for the cause of liberty long after I am gone.' But he was not to be lost from sight or memory. The great debate continued on a wider field. He was called to speak in other States and finally (27 Feb. 1860) by a masterly address at Cooper Institute, in New York City, the growing impression of his leadership was greatly extended. But there were few to think of him then as a possible chief magistrate. The national convention was to meet within the next 80 days (16 May 1860) and it was the general belief that Senator William H. Seward of New York would be the Republican nominee. Fully two-thirds of the delegates expected to vote for him. There were, however, elements of weakness in his candidacy. He had echoed the sentiment of Lincoln's house-divided speech, terming the slavery dispute an °irrepressible conflict be tween opposing and enduring forces,' one of which must eventually triumph, but he had previously declared in a Senate debate that there is a higher law than the Constitution governing the nation's stewardship of the pub lic domain. This had associated him in the public mind with the extreme abolitionists by whom the constitution was openly flouted. Some of the Northern States which Fremont had failed to carry were necessary to Republican success. Three of them, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois, were to elect State officers in October. Republican leaders, in the last two especially, were convinced that Seward's nomi nation would alienate many voters otherwise friendly. Their firm opposition coupled with the purely personal hostility of Horace Greeley, whose newspaper, the New York Tribune, was widely read by Republicans, led to caution and delay. There was the usual array of °favorite sons' to receive perfunctory support on the opening ballot, hut it was soon apparent that if Seward were set aside Lincoln would be the choice. The nomination was dictated by considerations of availability. Lincoln could carry Illinois — had done so but two years before. Indiana probably would favor him also. Pennsylvania, pledged to Simon Cameron, was indifferent toward Seward. In the midst of excitement prudence worked powerfully. Seward received but 173(4 votes at first, fewer than the required majority. Lincoln had 102. The leader gained 11 votes on the second ballot as against a gain of 79 for his rival. The third resulted in a majority for Lincoln, and after a painful delay the nomination on motion of New York was made unanimous.