Just a Few Weeks Before the 1860 Election, Abraham Lincoln Writes from Springfield, Sending His Autograph to a Young Man

Letters of Lincoln so close to the fateful election are not common

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The Presidential election of 1860 was perhaps the most consequential of American history. Abraham Lincoln defeated Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell. The electoral split between Northern and Southern Democrats was emblematic of the severe sectional split, particularly over slavery, and in the...

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Just a Few Weeks Before the 1860 Election, Abraham Lincoln Writes from Springfield, Sending His Autograph to a Young Man

Letters of Lincoln so close to the fateful election are not common

The Presidential election of 1860 was perhaps the most consequential of American history. Abraham Lincoln defeated Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell. The electoral split between Northern and Southern Democrats was emblematic of the severe sectional split, particularly over slavery, and in the months following Lincoln’s election (and before his inauguration in March 1861), seven Southern states, led by South Carolina on Dec. 20, 1860, seceded from the Union, setting the stage for the Civil War.

Willis Ogden was Colonel of the 23rd N.G.N.Y. (National Guard of New York). He was an educator, a philanthropist and a patriot, and for more than fifty years was prominent in Brooklyn financial and civic affairs. He would serve as president of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 1860, he was a young attorney.

Letter signed, Springfield, Il, October 13, 1860, too Willis L. Ogden. “Dear Sir, Herewith I send you my autograph, which you request. Yours truly, A. Lincoln”. The text is in the hand of John Nicolay, Lincoln’s secretary and biographer.

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