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44
ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS

this contest are held to be of the highest importance to the wellfare of the country and the success of the great contending parties. The Republican Convention of June 16, after placing a state ticket in nomination, named as its choice for United States senator to succeed Mr. Douglas, Mr. Lincoln, of Springfield. This expression met at once the approval of the Republicans of the state. Mr. Lincoln was regarded as the man for the place. A native of Kentucky, where he belonged to the class of "poor whites," he came early to Illinois. Poor unfriended, uneducated, a day-laborer, he has distanced all these disadvantages, and in the profession of the law he has risen steadily to a competence, and to the position of an intelligent, shrewd and well balanced man. Familiarly known as "Long Abe," he is a popular speaker, and a cautious, thoughtful politician, capable of taking a high position as a statesman and legislator. His nomination was proof that the Republicans of Illinois were determined in their hostility to Mr. Douglas, and that no latter-day conversion of his, however luminous it might appear to some eastern eyes, could blind them to the fact that in him were embodied the false and fatal principles against which they were organized. They had grown mighty in their opposition to Douglas, and in his defeat they were certain of an enlarged and a well-established party. Even Mr. Douglas's anti-Lecomptonism could not excuse or palliate his past errors; nor did it incline them in the least degree to sympathize with him. Save in this one respect, he was, as ever, the firm upholder of Dred Scottism, and the constant apologist and defender of the Federal Administration and the measures which it urged upon an unwilling country. The people of Illinois felt certain that they knew best the sentiment of their state, and they repudiated the counsels of those who suggested that Douglas was a good-enough Republican, and that he might be used to break down the democratic party here and in the northwest. The present attitude of Mr. Douglas, so entirely consistent with his antecedents, is good evidence that the Republicans in Illinois did well to contemn the time-serving and dangerous suggestions that emanated from Washington and New York, and which had voice in many influential journals at the East. Mr. Douglas, in all his speeches, claims to be a democrat, and demands the support of democrats in his assault upon Republicanism. The "Little Giant" is unchanged in no respect; and as the canvass grows warmer, the breech widens, and his actual position becomes more clearly defined.