Lincoln Delivers House Divided Speech 

Lincoln Delivers House Divided Speech 

U.S. #108 – 1875 Lincoln issue similar to the 1866 mourning stamp.

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous House Divided Speech in Springfield, Illinois.

In June 1858, 49-year-old Abraham Lincoln was nominated as the Republican Party’s choice for United States Senator. Lincoln prepared a special speech for the occasion, one that would “rouse people to the peril of the times.” That speech became known as the House Divided Speech. Lincoln took the name, and most famous phrase, from the Bible (Mark 3:25).

On June 16, 1858 at 5:00 p.m., the delegates to the Republican State Convention officially selected Lincoln as their candidate. Three hours later, at 8:00 p.m., he delivered his speech to his fellow Republicans in the Hall of Representatives.

U.S. #1303 – Lincoln stamp from the Prominent Americans series.

The focus of Lincoln’s speech was slavery, particularly concerning the Dred Scott decision. In this controversial case, the Supreme Court had ruled that Dred Scott could live in a free state, but must still remain a slave. To this, Lincoln responded, “what Dred Scott’s master might lawfully do with Dred Scott, in the free state of Illinois, every other master may lawfully do with any other one, or one thousand slaves, in Illinois, or in any other free state.”

Lincoln’s other point of concern in his speech was the passage of the Kansas and Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the 1820 Missouri Compromise. The Act supported popular sovereignty, which allowed the residents of territories, rather than Congress, to determine the future of slavery in each state. Lincoln claimed that, “individual men may now fill up the Territories with slaves,” and that instituting popular sovereignty would guarantee continued slavery across the nation.

U.S. #1115 pictures a scene from the subsequent Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Although many of Lincoln’s friends believed his speech was too radical for the time, it was one of the driving forces behind the eventual Lincoln-Douglas debates that were held just a few months later. Lincoln ended up losing the Senate seat to Stephen Douglas, but many credit the exposure Lincoln received from the speech as contributing to his popularity in the Presidential campaign of 1860.

U.S. #4380-83 pictures Lincoln throughout his life, including a scene from the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Lincoln regarded the speech as one of his favorites, once saying, “If I had to draw a pen across my record, and erase my whole life from sight, and I had one poor gift or choice left as to what I should save from the wreck, I should choose that speech [The House Divided Against Itself] and leave it to the world unerased.”

Click here to read the full text of Lincoln’s House Divided speech.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
[Total: 39 Average: 4.8]

Share this article

11 responses to "Lincoln Delivers House Divided Speech "

11 thoughts on “Lincoln Delivers House Divided Speech ”

  1. Of any country in the world USA is where I would want to be.
    “Abraham Lincoln” an icon for our country.
    ” God Bless the USA”
    . America Rocks !

    Reply
  2. The Party of Lincoln as we once knew sadly no longer exists. Where is Lincoln when the Republican Party desperately needs him!

    Reply
  3. Unbelievable…the Republican Party that nominated for President and elected Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan, is about to nominate a casino owner, and reality T.V. personality by the name of…what’s his name????

    Reply
  4. I love them but have not recieved them. Did you mail them to me if so what date? Need to know if someone elese got them

    Reply
  5. A truly great leader,respected around the world. I really like the 1877 stamp. Why does this nation kill off all the great presidents?

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Love history?

Discover events in American history – plus the stamps that make them come alive.

Subscribe to get This Day in History stories straight to your inbox every day!