Lincoln's "House Divided Speech"

Thursday, June 17, 1858

Abraham Lincoln in 1858. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Former U.S. Representative Abraham Lincoln accepts the Republican Party's nomination for an Illinois seat in the United States Senate. The speech, which he delivers at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, decries the nation's growing disunion over the slavery issue. He includes the famous line, "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free." Lincoln goes on to say that the nation would eventually be either all slave or all free, as the nation could not survive the division. Despite losing to his Democratic opponent, Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln's nomination for the Senate gives him a national profile and a slim opportunity to run for president of the United States.

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