[graphic]

Mary Todd Lincoln. From a photograph made ivhile Lincoln was president.

in 1845,—the New England Workingmen's Association in March, the New England Protective Association in September, and the Industrial Congress of the United States in October. These movements were largely socialistic in character, their demands were indiscriminate, and their membership included both skilled and unskilled workmen. All three organizations rapidly declined in the early fifties, and from that time till after the Civil War, the labor movement was restricted to the formation of local bodies, few of which had any national affiliation.

The rapid development of the United States is to be credited to the facility with which, by means of transportation lines the remoter parts of the country have been bound to the centres of trade and exportation. The work of commercial development which the nations of Europe accomplished through the painful processes of centuries the young republic accomplished in a decade. Often the railroad went ahead of the pioneer and marked out for him the line of his progress. The eager reach of the rail was the potent evidence of the invincible spirit of trade conquest of a people who were impatient to get to the far sources of untouched mineral and agricultural wealth. The story of the railroads is the story of the expansion of the national life and in it is involved the history of many of the economic measures of the nation. Nothing short of a transcontinental line to bring the Atlantic and the Pacific into connection could satisfy the measure of the people's ambition and such a line was projected, although its actual beginning was reserved for the administration of Lincoln.

Another of the peaceful accomplishments of the period that saw the generation of the spirit of fratricidal warfare was the laying of the first Atlantic cable by Cyrus W. Field; a work which was completed on August 16, 1858. This magnificent feat of binding the continents by the chain of communication was signalized by the interchange of salutations upon the completion of the work between Queen Victoria and President Buchanan.

CHAPTER XV
THE IMPENDING CONFLICT

The enthusiasm for the Republican party exhibited during the campaign of 1856 apparently was not to be manifested in the elections of the following year. Those who had supported the party, influenced by the hope of success, and those who had been led by the hope of sharing in the spoils of victory, fell away under the blow of Fremont's defeat. The outlook for the Republicans during the summer and early fall of 1858 was most discouraging, but the apathy, particularly in the Northwest, was more apparent than real, and began to be dissipated after the contest had been fairly entered into. The New Orleans "Journal warned its readers that "The Republican Party seemed on the brink of dissolution, but has recently been galvanized into renewed symptoms of vitality and vigor." When the returns came in from the fall elections in the States, it was seen that the Republicans had made large gains. The Lecompton Constitution and the Dred Scott decision had evoked a vote of condemnation of the Democratic party throughout the North. New England had gone solidly Republican, while in the Northwest, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan showed a largely increased Republican vote. New York elected a Republican governor and three-fourths of the Congressional districts were also carried by the new party. Buchanan's own State, Pennsylvania, defeated the Democratic State ticket by a majority of twenty thousand. Interest centred throughout the campaign on the contest in Illinois. There, Stephen A. Douglas was a candidate for reelection to the Senate. The Democratic State Convention had expressed its approbation of his course in the discussion on the Lecompton Constitution and had endorsed his candidacy. Nevertheless, his recreancy to the programme of the administration had caused some of the leaders to endeavor to compass his defeat. The Republican party placed in nomination as its candidate for the senatorship, Abraham Lincoln.

The man who thus stood opposed to the Democratic leader whom men called the "Little Giant," had comparatively little to recommend him to the people of Illinois. Certainly he made a poor contrast to the record of his adversary. Lincoln was born in the slave State of Kentucky, on February 12, 1809, his father, Thomas Lincoln, being at that time engaged in farming in Hardin, now La Rue County. Accustomed to poverty and hardship from his youth, with few incentives to ambition, Abraham Lincoln must have owed to some inscrutable combination of mental influences his power to rise superior to his early environment. At the age of seven years, young Lincoln was taken by his parents to Indiana, where the family resided until he was twenty-one, when his father removed to Illinois. The opportunities for acquiring an education were meagre; his choice of books was small, but such books as he could procure, he not only read but studied. Shakespeare and Burns were his favorite authors and their works, in addition to the Bible, formed the foundation of his literary education, and afforded an intellectual discipline which developed in him an unusual acuteness of mental judgment. Lincoln was preeminently a self-made man; constitutionally indolent, with no natural love of work, by the sheer exercise of will-power he overcame this predisposition to sloth, and undertook and successfully accomplished the most arduous tasks. After the family removed to Illinois, Lincoln began the study of law, and at the age of twenty-eight he

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