Excerpt from The Portrait Gallery of the War, Civil, Military, and Naval: A Biographical Record
Mr. Lincoln was elected a representative in Congress from the central district of Illinois in 1846, and took his seat on the first Monday in December, 1847. His congressional caree... r was consistently that of one who believed in freedom and respected the laws. He voted forty-two times in favor of the Wilmot proviso. He voted for the reception of anti-slavery memofials and petitions; for an inquiry into the constitutionality of slavery in the district of Columbia, and the expediency of abolishing the slave-trade in the district; and on January 16th, 1849, he offered to the House a scheme for the abolition of slavery in the district, and for the compensation of slave-owners from the United States treasury, provided a majority of the citizens of the district should vote for the acceptance of the act. He opposed the annexation of Texas, but voted for the loan bill to enable the government to carry on the Mexican war, and for various resolutions to prohibit slavery in the territory to be acquired from Mexico. He voted also in favor of a protective tariff, and of selling the public lands at the lowest cost price. In 1849 he was a candidate for the United States Senate, but was defeated. Upon the expiration of his congressional term Mr. Lincoln applied himself to his profession; but the repeal of the Missouri compromise called him again into the political arena, and he entered energetically the canvass which was to decide the choice of a Senator to succeed General Shields. The Republican triumph, and the consequent election of Judge Trumbull to the Senate, were attributed mainly to his efforts. Mr. Lincoln was ineffectually urged as a candidate for the vice presidency in the national convention which nominated Colonel Fremont in 1856. He was unanimously nominated candidate for United States Senator in opposio tion to Mr. Douglas by the Republican state convention at Springfield, June 2d, 1858, and canvassed the state with his opponent, speaking on the same day at the same place. In the course of this canvass, and in reply to certain questions or statements of Mr. Douglas, Mr. Lincoln made the following declarations: I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the unconditional repeal of the fugitive slave law. I do not now, nor ever did, stand pledged against the admission of any more slave states into the Union. I do not stand pledged against the admission of a new state into the Union with such a constitution as the people of that state may see fit to make. I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the United States territories.
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