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Lincoln Quiz

What event happened on May 26, 1854, which re-awakened Lincoln's interest in politics?

On this date, the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed Congress, repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820. As Lincoln explained it, "The Missouri Compromise excluded slavery from the Kansas-Nebraska Territory. The repeal opened the territories to slavery."

The passage of this bill by Senator Stephen A. Douglas proved a turning point in Lincoln's career. As he observed, "I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again."

When he ran for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives during the fall of 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was the main campaign issue. In September he wrote a political associate, "You know how anxious I am that this Nebraska measure shall be rebuked and condemned every where." On speech-making trips throughout Illinois, Lincoln attacked the bill and debated Douglas, its creator.

In October he denounced the bill as a "foul wrong," saying, "The new-fangled doctrines of popular rights were invented in these degenerate days to cloak the spread of slavery." He said the bill "practically legislates for slavery, recognising it, endorsing it, propagating it, extending it."

On October 16, Lincoln answered Douglas in Peoria in a powerful speech full of fire and energy and sarcasm, illustrating what his law partner often noticed: "In his mental vise he crushed the untrue and inexact--the hollow and the sham."

Lincoln addressed the moral implications of slavery that night in memorable passages such as: "No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent. I say this is the leading principle--the sheet anchor of American republicanism."

For the next six years Lincoln poured himself into politics, opposing the extension of slavery and gaining the prominence which culminated in his presidential nomination.

Other Quizzes

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  • How did Lincoln spend Christmas week as President and President-elect?
  • Which impact did Lincoln's election have on his professional life?
  • Which friend of Lincoln was killed on October 21, 1861?
  • Which two things would Lincoln not want you to know?
  • How did Lincoln bring fame to Beardstown, Illinois?
  • How did Lincoln spend the Fourth of July?
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  • What happened the morning of February 11, 1861?
  • What happened behind the scenes with Lincoln's First Inaugural Address?

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