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Offutt paid little attention to business, and his store was about to fail, when an Indian disturbance, known as the Black Hawk War, broke out in April 1832, in Illinois. Lincoln enlisted and was elected captain of his volunteer company. When his term expired, he reenlisted, serving about 80 days in all. He experienced some hardships, but no fighting.

Politics and Law

Returning to New Salem, Lincoln sought election to the state legislature. He won almost all the votes in his own community, but lost the election because he was not known throughout the county. In partnership with William F. Berry, he bought a store on credit, but it soon failed, leaving him deeply in debt. He then got a job as deputy surveyor, was appointed postmaster, and pieced out his income with odd jobs. The story of his romance with Ann Rutledge is rejected as a legend by most authorities, but he did have a short-lived love affair with Mary Owens.

Illinois Legislator

In 1834, Lincoln was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, and he was reelected in 1836, 1838, and 1840. Political alignments were in a state of flux during his first two candidacies, but as the WHIG and DEMOCRATIC parties began to take form, he followed his political idol, Henry Clay, and John T. Stuart, a Springfield lawyer and friend, into the Whig ranks. Twice Lincoln was his party's candidate for speaker, and when defeated, he served as its floor leader.

His greatest achievement in the legislature, where he was a consistent supporter of conservative business interests, was to bring about the removal of the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield, by means of adroit logrolling. When certain resolutions denouncing antislavery agitation were passed by the house, Lincoln and a colleague, Dan Stone, defined their position by a written declaration that slavery was "founded on both injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils." An internal improvement project that Lincoln promoted in the legislature turned out to be impractical and almost bankrupted the state. On national issues Lincoln favored the United States Bank and opposed the presidential policies of Andrew JACKSON and Martin VAN BUREN.

Law Practice

His friend Stuart had encouraged him to study law, and he obtained a license on Sept. 9, 1836. By this time New Salem was in decline and would soon be a ghost town. It has since been restored as a state park. On April 15, 1837, Lincoln moved to Springfield to become Stuart's partner. His conscientious efforts to pay off his debts had earned him the nickname "Honest Abe," but he was so poor that he arrived in Springfield on a borrowed horse with all his personal property in his saddlebags.

With the courts in Springfield in session only a few weeks during the year, lawyers were obliged to travel the circuit in order to make a living. Every year, in spring and autumn, Lincoln followed the judge from county to county over the 12,000 square miles (31,000 sq km) of the Eighth Circuit. In 1841 he and Stuart disolved their firm, and Lincoln formed a new partnership with Stephen T. Logan, who taught him the value of careful preparation and clear, succinct reasoning as opposed to mere cleverness and oratory. This partnership was in turn dissolved in 1844, when Lincoln took young William H. Herndon, later to be his biographer, as a partner.


Meanwhile, on Nov. 4, 1842, after a somewhat tumultuous courtship, Lincoln had married Mary Todd. Brought up in Lexington, Ky., she was a high-spirited, quick-tempered girl of excellent education and cultural background. Notwithstanding her vanity, ambition, and unstable temperament and Lincoln's careless ways and alternating moods of hilarity and dejection, the marriage turned out to be generally happy. Of their four children, only Robert Todd Lincoln, born on Aug. 1, 1843, lived to maturity. Edward Baker, who was born on March 10, 1846, died on Feb. 1, 1850; William Wallace, born Dec. 21, 1850, died on Feb. 20, 1862; and Thomas ("Tad"), born April 4, 1853, died on July 15, 1871.

Реферат опубликован: 9/09/2007