Speech at Chicago, Illinois

1858.  Lincoln is on the campaign trail, running for the US Senate to replace Illinois incumbent senator Stephen Douglas. The speech below was transcribed live by a correspondent from the Chicago Democrat and published the next day (with Lincoln’s amendments as found in his scrapbook).  We’ll see a few more speeches like this one over the coming weeks, and starting in August: the Lincoln-Douglas debates!

See June 16.

July 10, 1858

The succeeding speech was delivered by Mr. Lincoln, on Saturday Evening, July 10, 1858, at Chicago, Illinois.

Senator Douglas was not present.

My Fellow Citizens:—On yesterday evening, upon the occasion of the reception given to Senator Douglas, I was furnished with a seat very convenient for hearing him, and was otherwise very courteously treated by him and his friends, and for which I thank him and them. During the course of his remarks my name was mentioned in such a way, as I suppose renders it at least not improper that I should make some sort of reply to him. I shall not attempt to follow him in the precise order in which he addressed the assembled multitude upon that occasion, though I shall perhaps do so in the main.


There was one question to which he asked the attention of the crowd, which I deem of somewhat less importance—at least of propriety for me to dwell upon—than the others, which he brought in near the close of his speech, and which I think it would not be entirely proper for me to omit attending to, and yet if I were not to give some attention to it now, I should probably forget it altogether. [Applause]. While I am upon this subject, allow me to say that I do not intend to indulge in that inconvenient mode sometimes adopted in public speaking, of reading from documents; but I shall depart from that rule so far as to read a little scrap from his speech, which notices this first topic of which I shall speak—that is, provided I can find it in the paper. (Examines the Press and Tribune of this morning). A voice—“Get out your specs.”

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