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Abraham Lincoln Political Career Timeline

Here are some highlights of Lincoln's political career, arranged by decade. For speeches and writings of these periods, plus many additional resources, see the links at the end of the page.

MARCH 9, 1832
Makes first-known published political announcement

AUGUST 6, 1832
Loses first race for Illinois House of Representatives

AUGUST 4, 1834
Wins election to first term in Illinois House of Representatives

AUGUST 1, 1836
Wins election to second term in Illinois House of Representatives

JANUARY 11, 1837
Gives first published speech in Illinois legislature

MARCH 3, 1837
Makes first public declaration against slavery

JANUARY 27, 1838
Delivers speech on "Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions"

AUGUST 6, 1838
Wins election to third term in the Illinois House of Representatives

DECEMBER 3, 1838
Loses bid for Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives

OCTOBER 7, 1839
Attends first Whig Party state convention

AUGUST 3, 1840
Wins election to fourth term in the Illinois House of Representatives

MAY 1, 1843
Attends Whig Party district convention in Pekin, Illinois

Speaks in Illinois and Indiana on behalf of Henry Clay

MAY 1, 1846
Wins Whig Party nomination for Seventh Congressional District

AUGUST 3, 1846
Wins election to Congress as Whig Party representative

DECEMBER 6, 1847
Takes seat in U.S. House of Representatives

DECEMBER 22, 1847
Presents "Spot Resolutions" in U.S. House of Representatives

JUNE 7 - 9, 1848
Attends national Whig Party convention in Philadelphia

Speaks on behalf of Zachery Taylor in New England

JANUARY 10, 1849
Proposes amendment to abolish slavery in District of Columbia

MARCH 4, 1849
Ends first and only term in U.S. House of Representatives

OCTOBER 16, 1854
Delivers famous anti-Nebraska Act speech in Peoria, Illinois

NOVEMBER 7, 1854
Wins election to Illinois House of Representatives

NOVEMBER 10, 1854
Decides to run for U.S. Senate instead

DECEMBER 23, 1854
Special election held to choose his successor to Illinois legislature

FEBRUARY 8, 1855
Loses bid for Senate when Illinois legislature elects Lyman Trumbull

MAY 29, 1856
Delivers stirring "lost speech" as a Republican in Bloomington, Illinois

JUNE 19, 1856
Considered for vice president at first Republican National Convention

JUNE 26, 1857
Speaks against Dred Scott court decision in Springfield, Illinois

JUNE 16, 1858
Chosen as U.S. Senate candidate by Illinois Republican Convention

AUGUST 21, 1858
Begins first of seven formal debates with Democrat Stephen A. Douglas

NOVEMBER 2, 1858
Wins Senate popular vote but loses election to Douglas

Makes speaking tour of Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin

Makes speaking tour of northeastern Kansas

FEBRUARY 27, 1860
Gives famous Cooper Union speech in New York City

FEBRUARY 28 - MARCH 10, 1860
Makes speaking tour of New England states

MAY 9 - 10, 1860
Receives support of Illinois Republican Convention for president

MAY 18, 1860
Receives Republican nomination for president with running mate Hannibal Hamlin

NOVEMBER 6, 1860
Wins election as first Republican president in a four-way race

MARCH 4, 1861
Takes oath of office as sixteenth president of the U.S.

FEBRUARY 22, 1864
Endorsed for re-election by the Republican National Committee

JUNE 8, 1864
Renominated for president by National Union Party with running mate Andrew Johnson

NOVEMBER 8, 1864
Wins re-election as president, defeating Democrat George McClellan

MARCH 4, 1865
Takes oath of office as president for a second term

APRIL 15, 1865
Dies an assassination victim at 7:22 a.m., ending presidential term

Sources: The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler and Lincoln Day by Day edited by Earl Miers

Related Links
Links to Lincoln's Pre-Presidential Political Career
Links to Lincoln's Presidential Political Career

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