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MEMBER OF CONGRESS.
now formed a partnership, and buying a date for Presidential elector in 1844, he stock of goods on credit, opened a coun: canvassed the whole State of Illinois try store. He was also appointed post- and a portion of Indiana in favor of master at New Salem. The business, Henry Clay. In 1846 he was elected however, not proving successful, nor the by the Whigs a member of Congress, office remunerative, he was soon in such and in December, 1847, took his seat in pecuniary straits as to be forced to close the House of Representatives. Though his doors. His next effort for a liveli- opposed to the annexation of Texas and hood was as an extemporaneous assist the war with Mexico, which had been ant surveyor, for which he readily pre- then brought to a triumphant close by pared himself by obtaining a field com- the conquest of the Mexican capital, pass, a chain, and a treatise on surveying. Lincoln never failed to recognize the
In 1834, Lincoln was elected a mem good service of our soldiers, and to join ber of the Legislature of Illinois. Al- in all the congressional votes of acthough reticent of speech, he by the knowledgment and reward. faithful discharge of his duties, and his At an early period Lincoln had manipersonal and political rectitude of con- fested those opinions on slavery which duct, won so much of the good opinion secured for him the nomination of the of his constituents that they re-elected Republican party, and elevated him to him for three successive terms.
his present high position. In a protest, Even while practicing as a surveyor, which is recorded upon the journal of the Lincoln had been in the habit of read- Illinois Legislature on the 3d of March, ing books on law. After entering the 1837, he united with a fellow-member Legislature, he began to study them in saying that: “ They believe that the with increased attention, and in 1836 institution of slavery is founded on both had made such progress that he was injustice and bad policy ; but that the admitted to the bar. In April of the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends following year he became a partner of rather to increase than abate its evils. a Mr. John F. Stuart, and removed to "They believe that the Congress of Springfield, where he began the practice the United States has no power, under of his profession. His success as a the Constitution, to interfere with the lawyer was immediate, and he soon at institution of slavery in the different tained to such eminence, that he ranked States. among the chief legal practitioners of “They believe that the Congress of the neighborhood. His forte was in the the United States has the power under management of jury cases. Though the Constitution to abolish slavery in laboriously occupied with his profession, the District of Columbia ; but that the Lincoln took a prominent lead in poli- power ought not to be exercised unless tics. His sympathies were with the at the request of the people of said Whigs, and having been chosen a candi- District."
His action while in Congress, as since can candidate. So prominent had he his election to the Presidency, has been now become as a leader of the new in strict accordance with the scrupulous party, that in the Republican National regard thus early expressed for all con Convention of 1856, which nominated stitutional obligations in respect to John C. Fremont for President, Lincoln Southern slavery, while he has never was pressed by the delegates from the failed to do his utmost to restrict within State of Illinois as a nominee for the its legal bounds an institution which he | Vice-Presidency. does not favor. He showed his resolute Being nominated on the 2d of June, opposition to its extension by voting, 1858, by the Republican party of his while in Congress, no less than forty State, candidate for the United States two times for the Wilmot proviso. His Senate, in opposition to Douglas, Linaction on other questions was in harcoln canvassed Illinois together with his mony with his professed Whig principles, eminent competitor. Having already, in and a protective tariff, river and harbor the struggle between Trumbull and improvements, and the sale of the pub- Shields, tested his powers with the lic lands at a low valuation, received his “Little Giant," as the partisans of Dougsupport and vote.
las fondly termed him, in allusion to his Lincoln, having served in Congress combined loftiness of intellect and but a single term, returned to the prac- smallness of stature, Lincoln did not tice of his profession in Springfield. In hesitate to challenge his doughty antag1848, however, he was a member of the onist to another encounter. The politWhig National Convention, and warmly ical contest which ensued became memconcurred in the nomination of General orable, and Lincoln exhibited, as a freeZachary Taylor for the Presidency. In soil combatant, such pluck and bottom 1849 he was the Whig candidate for the that he was hailed by the Republicans United States Senate, but as the majority of Illinois as their favorite champion. of the Legislature of Illinois was Demo- | They claimed that he had victoriously cratic, was beaten by his competitor, sustained their principles against the General Shields.
stoutest leader of their antagonists. He, The repeal of the Missouri Compro however, with all his vigor of fight, did mise aroused Lincoln once more to not succeed in his immediate purpose active political effort, and he came for of gaining the prize of the senatorship. ward as a champion of the new Repub The popular vote, it is true, proclaimed lican party organized to resist the ex him victor, but his competitor, Douglas, tension of slavery. In the canvass for received the suffrage of the State Senthe choice of a senator in the place of ate in consequence of the unequal apGeneral Shields, he sustained Judge portionment law of Illinois, which gave Trumbull, and to his spirited efforts was the Democrats an undue share of its attributed the triumph of that Republi- members. Lincoln, however, had se.