#54 on the list of 150 Most Teachable Lincoln Documents
On This Date
[Editorial Note: The editors of Lincoln’s Collected Works put this undated “Plan of Campaign” as being created sometime in January 1840, but Matthew Pinsker, who edits this site, considers it more likely to have been created in August 1840, following the local Illinois elections.]
How Historians Interpret
“Perhaps the two most prominent monuments of this aspect of his political life were his campaign plan for 1840 and his 1843 resolutions laying out a pattern of organization embracing local, county and district conventions with committees and captains at every level to carry on the electioneering work.”
—Joel H. Silbey, “‘Always a Whig in Politics’ The Partisan Life of Abraham Lincoln,” The Journal of Abraham Lincoln Studies 8, no. 1 (1986), 21-42.
“Setting aside his earlier fears that an enlarged party machinery could be ripe for manipulation by party elders, in January 1840, he became a coauthor of a circular that would ‘appoint one person in each county as county captain,’ with the precinct captain and section captain ‘to perform promptly all the duties assigned him.’ The Whigs, put on the defensive by the organizational structures of their Democratic opponents, were determined to tighten their own organization. ‘Our intention is to organize the whole State, so that every Whig can be brought to the polls in the coming presidential election.’”
—Ronald C. White, A Lincoln: A Biography (New York: Random House Publishing Group, 2009), 92.
NOTE TO READERS
This page is under construction and will be developed further by students in the new “Understanding Lincoln” online course sponsored by the House Divided Project at Dickinson College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. To find out more about the course and to see some of our videotaped class sessions, including virtual field trips to Ford’s Theatre and Gettysburg, please visit our Livestream page at http://new.livestream.com/gilderlehrman/lincoln