Contemporaries considered the speech he delivered here in the Old State Capitol on October 4, 1854 to be "one of the ablest & most effective of his life," and identified this as "the occasion of his becoming a great antislavery leader." Lincoln spoke for three hours, proclaiming: "(M)y ancient faith teaches me that 'all men are created equal' and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man's making a slave of another."
Republican newspapers boasted that Douglas had never before endured "such a remorseless tearing of his flimsy arguments." Lincoln repeated the speech in Peoria two weeks later, and it has come down in history as the "Peoria Speech." Historians consider it to be one of Lincoln's most significant addresses.
Mary Todd Lincoln was heard to scold her husband "Why don't you dress up and look like somebody." Mary was a well-bred daughter of Kentucky aristocrats. Abraham was the rough son of illiterate Kentucky dirt farmers. So it is not surprising that Mary tried to educate Lincoln in matters of proper dress and social behavior. The first big purchase of their marriage was "superior black cloth" for a man's suit! She provided what her biographer described as "a marriage-long course in middle-class etiquette."
In Mary's time, women were expected to be the family's guardian of morality and Christian conduct. Gentrifying her husband conformed to Mary's expected marital role. Unlike conventional political wives of her day, however, Mary was openly ambitious for her husband's success and assertive in giving him political advise. The recipient of much criticism, Mary paid a price for being ahead of her time.
Left: This picture of Lincoln at age 56 is his second earliest known photograph. It was taken in October 1854 in Chicago just three weeks after he gave his stirring antislavery speech in Springfield's Old State Capitol.
Right: Mary was age 36 in 1854. There is no known photo of her from that year. Mary did not like to have her picture taken. She thought photos mad her hands too large and her features too fat. Here she appears in 1860 at age 42.
|Series||This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 12:09am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||16S E 273277 N 4408970|
|Decimal Degrees||39.80050000, -89.64821667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 39° 48.03', W 89° 38.893'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||39° 48' 1.80" N, 89° 38' 53.58" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 2-98 E Adams St, Springfield IL 62701, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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