Monday, May 17, 2010

Bloomingtonians played vital role in Lincoln's 1860 nomination

One hundred and fifty years ago this Tuesday, Abraham Lincoln received the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Lincoln partly owes his May 18, 1860 victory at the national convention to the intense lobbying—and some likely backroom politicking—of Judge David Davis of Bloomington.

Davis and William Seward denied doling out cabinet positions in order to secure support from state delegations.

Yet there’s enough contradictory evidence to call into question such assertions. Lincoln biographer Michael Burlingame splits the difference, concluding that while Davis promised Indiana a cabinet appointment, he did not necessarily guarantee the seat would go to Smith.

Burlingame is the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at UIS. His comments were featured in a May 16, 2010, article in the Bloomington Pantagraph.

Download a PDF of the article