In 1858 Horace Greeley urged Illinois Republicans to unite around the figure of Democrat Stephen Douglas in that fall’s election. Why? Because Douglas had led the fight in the Senate against the fraudulent Lecompton constitution that would have made Kansas a slave state. Illinois Republicans decisively rejected Greeley’s advice by naming Lincoln their candidate in the contest against Douglas.
Accepting the state Republican Party’s nomination in Springfield on June 16, 1858, Lincoln gave the “House Divided” speech that electrified the convention and thrust him into national prominence. For more, see Harry Jaffa’s “The speech that changed the world” as well as his great Crisis of the House Divided.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, New York Sun editor Seth Lipsky reviews a new biography of Greeley. Lipsky finds the biography interesting and surprisingly timely.