Springfield Bids Goodbye to President-Elect Abraham Lincoln

Few of us take pleasure in explicit consideration on the day earlier than our birthdays. But on the morning earlier than Abraham Lincoln’s 52nd birthday—February 11, 1861—over a thousand of his neighbors gathered on the Springfield, Illinois practice station to bid him farewell. Lincoln was embarking on a circuitous 12-day journey to Washington, DC, the place he would full his preparations to imagine workplace because the sixteenth President of the US.
His route would take him via bigger cities the place crowds of well-wishers lined the streets, waving flags as he disembarked to present easy speeches. In between stops, he had lots to ponder. Throughout the three months since his election, seven southern states had seceded from the Union. Representatives of the seceding states have been already assembly in Montgomery, Alabama to draft the structure of the Confederacy. On the identical day Lincoln left Springfield, Jefferson Davis left his residence in Mississippi to journey to Montgomery, the place he could be inaugurated Accomplice president. Lincoln and his celebration, insisting that secession was impermissible underneath the Structure of the US, noticed the hassle to prepare a Southern nation with rising anxiousness. Lincoln didn’t wish to precipitate a civil warfare, however he additionally wished to keep away from any deal that will forestall warfare at the price of acceding to the Southern demand that slavery be prolonged into new federal territories. 
As Doris Kearns Goodwin recounts in Crew of Rivals, Lincoln had for weeks been cultivating his cupboard selections, inviting potential appointees to go to him in Springfield for lengthy, frank talks. Amongst these he hoped to recruit to his cupboard have been three of his rivals for the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination: Senator William Seward of New York, an eloquent orator and influential chief amongst former Whigs; Governor Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, a quietly staunch abolitionist; and Choose Edward Bates of the (then) western border state of Missouri. Every man represented a faction of the celebration whose assist Lincoln wanted as he tried to avert the break-up of the union. But these males’s political variations—to not point out their egos—sophisticated Lincoln’s job in recruiting all to work on his group. Providing the place of Lawyer Basic, Lincoln had simply persuaded Bates, who warmed to the president-elect’s open, considerate dialogue of the looming disaster. Lincoln had not but gained over Chase, who thought the place of Secretary of State—which Lincoln had provided to Seward—ought to go to him. In the meantime, Lincoln needed to rigorously handle Seward, who anticipated not solely the highest Cupboard place but additionally a big function in crafting Lincoln’s insurance policies, and who wished all the opposite high positions to go to former Whigs like himself. 
Certainly, as Lincoln made his manner towards Washington, Seward was already making an attempt to disarm the secession motion by pushing in Congress a plan to confess New Mexico to the union as a slave state. Seward, together with Thomas Corwin and Charles Francis Adams within the Home, was additionally recommending passage of a proposed Thirteenth Modification that appears the very obverse of the modification handed 4 years later. The textual content of the proposed modification learn:
No modification shall be made to the Structure which is able to authorize or give to Congress the ability to abolish or intervene, inside any State, with the home establishments thereof, together with that of individuals held to labor or service by the legal guidelines of stated State.
Nervousness about secession was so nice {that a} decision to suggest this modification handed the Home of Representatives in late February by a two-thirds vote. Goodwin writes that it may need handed within the Senate as effectively, had opponents not used a procedural maneuver to dam a vote on it.  
Some historians, pointing to a passage in Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, argue that Lincoln permitted the proposed modification; that it will merely have codified his prior place that, whereas slavery might and needs to be stored out of the federal territories, it couldn’t, underneath the Structure, be interfered with the place it already existed. Maybe such an modification wouldn’t be inconsistent with Lincoln’s request to Congress, in a particular message in March 1862, that it think about a plan for gradual, compensated emancipation of these enslaved. To me it appears unbelievable that Lincoln actually wished the proposed modification, or that he would have acknowledged the existence of such a proposal, had it not been urged on him by the numerous legislators making an attempt to avert disunion. It appears extra possible that between his election and the firing of the primary shot on Fort Sumter, Lincoln stated what he thought essential to keep away from giving extra Southern states trigger to secede. He refused to sign that he opposed compromise. If and when warfare got here, it will be as a result of the South selected to wage it.
Actually, throughout his quick stops for speech-making on the practice journey to Washington, Lincoln averted incendiary remarks. He appears to have come closest to stating his actual intentions when he disembarked the practice to talk at Independence Corridor in Philadelphia. Underneath the affect of that hallowed web site, Lincoln declared,
I’ve usually contemplated over the hazards which have been incurred by the boys who assembled right here and adopted that Declaration of Independence . . . . I’ve usually inquired of myself, what nice precept or concept it was that stored this Confederacy so lengthy collectively. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mom land; however one thing in that Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the folks of this nation, however hope to the world for all future time. . . . It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights needs to be lifted from the shoulders of all males, and that every one ought to have an equal likelihood. . . . That is the sentiment embodied in that Declaration of Independence. . . . If this nation can’t be saved with out giving up that precept–I used to be about to say I’d reasonably be assassinated on this spot than to give up it.  
On February 11, nevertheless, as Lincoln addressed a crowd of hometown buddies gathered to see him off, Lincoln spoke primarily of friendship and gratitude. “Nobody, not in my state of affairs, can respect my feeling of disappointment at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of those folks, I owe all the things.” Then he spoke of the problem earlier than him:
I now go away, not figuring out when or whether or not ever I’ll return, with a job earlier than me larger than that which rested upon Washington. With out the help of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I can not succeed. With that help, I can not fail. Trusting in Him who can go along with me, and stay with you, and be in every single place for good, allow us to confidently hope that every one will but be effectively.
Maybe Lincoln sensed he would by no means once more shake fingers along with his Springfield buddies. He actually understood his want of their prayers.

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