The Story of Abraham Lincoln

by James Baldwin

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Chapter X: Politics and Marriage

The next year after his removal to Springfield, Mr. Lincoln was elected to the legislature for the third time.

There were then, in this country, two great political parties, the Democrats and the Whigs. Mr. Lincoln was a Whig, and he soon became the leader of his party in the state. But the Whigs were not so strong as the Democrats.

The legislature was in session only a few weeks each year; and so Mr. Lincoln could devote all the rest of the time to the practice of law. There were many able lawyers in Illinois; but Abe Lincoln of Springfield soon made himself known among the best of them. In 1840, he was again elected to the legislature. This was the year in which General William H. Harrison was elected president of the United States. General Harrison was a Whig; and Mr. Lincoln's name was on the Whig ticket as a candidate for presidential elector in his state. The presidential campaign was one of the most exciting that had ever been known. It was called the "log cabin" campaign, because General Harrison had lived in a log cabin, and his opponents had sneered at his poverty.

In the East as well as in the West, the excitement was very great. In every city and town and village, wherever there was a political meeting, a log cabin was seen. On one side of the low door hung a long-handled gourd; on the other side, a coon-skin was nailed to the logs, the blue smoke curled up from the top of the stick-and-clay chimney.

You may believe that Abraham Lincoln went into this campaign with all his heart. He traveled over a part of the state, making stump-speeches for his party.

One of his ablest opponents was a young lawyer, not quite his own age, whose name was Stephen A. Douglas. In many places, during this campaign, Lincoln and Douglas met in public debate upon the questions of the day. And both of them were so shrewd, so well informed, and so eloquent, that those who heard them were unable to decide which was the greater of the two.

General Harrison was elected, but not through the help of Mr. Lincoln; for the vote of Illinois that year was for the Democratic candidate.

In 1842, when he was thirty-three years old, Mr. Lincoln was married to Miss Mary Todd, a young lady from Kentucky, who had lately come to Springfield on a visit.

For some time after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln lived in a hotel called the "Globe Tavern," paying four dollars a week for rooms and board. But, in 1844, Mr. Lincoln bought a small, but comfortable frame house, and in this they lived until they went to the White House, seventeen years later.

Although he had been successful as a young lawyer, Mr. Lincoln was still a poor man. But Mrs. Lincoln said: "I would rather have a good man, a man of mind, with bright prospects for success and power and fame, than marry one with all the horses and houses and gold in the world."

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