It’s not often that a presidential election causes a war, but the election of Abraham Lincoln to the POTUS did just that over 150 years ago. Never would the country see a more divisive candidate, as his election began the secession of the Confederate States. On this day, in 1861, he boarded his train from scenic Springfield, Illinois and began the long commute to takeover the position that eventually got him whacked by a patsy for the Louisiana mob.
Having forged his legal career and later his political career from that city, Lincoln grew quite fond of Springfield and its people. It’s where he first learned the Black Arts as well, and some say where he first plotted his time as Northern dictator. Regardless, he loved the land of “chilli” and the the “Horseshoe” sammich, and his departure brought him to an emotional crescendo and eloquent (as always) speech that included:
Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being… I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail… To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
His trip was also a contentious one, as his controversial election caused great concern for the President’s safety. The alleged “Baltimore Plot” was one instance they feared, but threats abounded from every torqued-up Reb with a hair trigger. The Pinkerton’s provided extra security detail for the voyage, which culminated a success. However Lincoln’s dome would only last until 1865, when it met its match in the form of a pistol round at Ford’s Theater.