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To understand President Abraham Lincoln, one must understand the private citizen who gave the extraordinary antislavery speech at Peoria on October 16, 1854. This three hour address marked the turning point in his political pilgrimage. It dramatically altered the political career of the speaker and, as a result, the history of America. In Lincoln at Peoria, Lewis Lehrman examines the seminal Peoria speech and the historical context in which Lincoln delivered it. While some may argue that Lincoln underwent a transformation upon assuming the Presidency in 1861, Lehrman contends the great divide between the statecraft of his presidential years and his early legislative years originates with the speech at Peoria in 1854.

The Peoria speech is also Lincoln’s primary statement about the nature of early American history and its peculiar institution of slavery. The Peoria address was rigorous, logical, and grounded in thorough historical research marking Lincoln’s reentry into politics and his preparation for the Presidency in 1861. Lincoln’s contemporaries noted that the speech catapulted Lincoln into the national debates over slavery and into national politics for the rest of his life.

Official Website: http://www.heritage.org/press/events/ev020509a.cfm

Added by insideronline on January 27, 2009

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