Abraham Lincoln (Great American Presidents) by Louise Chipley Slavicek

By Louise Chipley Slavicek

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Consequently, Lincoln hoped that if Taylor won, Lincoln’s efforts in the campaign would be rewarded with an important federal appointment in the General Land Office. Taylor was elected, but the most he would grant Lincoln was the governorship of the far-off Oregon Territory. Disappointed, Lincoln decided to give up politics and focus on his legal career instead. THE KANSAS–NEBRASKA ACT AND GROWING SECTIONAL CRISIS For the next five years, Lincoln devoted himself to his law practice. q 6/19/03 11:13 PM Page 35 THE ROAD TO THE PRESIDENCY grew steadily.

In early 1856, with the Whig Party hopelessly divided between its Northern and Southern wings, Lincoln decided to take his chances on the Republicans. Almost immediately, he became one of Illinois’s Republican leaders, and at the Republican National Convention, he even attracted serious consideration as presidential nominee John C. Fremont’s running mate. Although Democrat James Buchanan ultimately won the presidency, Lincoln and his fellow Republicans were undaunted — Fremont had made a very respectable showing at the polls and the party’s future appeared bright.

Most Northerners saw the West as a land of opportunity for whites seeking to better their lot. If slave-based agriculture was allowed to take root there, they worried, the small white farmer would be crowded out. LINCOLN TAKES A STAND The Kansas–Nebraska Act, Lincoln later declared, roused him as no political issue ever had before. In Congress, as in the Illinois legislature, Lincoln had paid relatively little attention to slavery. q 6/19/03 11:13 PM Page 39 THE ROAD TO THE PRESIDENCY Lincoln devoted himself to the antislavery cause.

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