The relationship between Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln has long been the stuff of legend. According to one report, in 1857 Lincoln in his Springfield law office picked up a copy of Whitman’s poetry...
In Shays’ Rebellion, Massachusetts farmers, faced with high taxes, eviction, and imprisonment for debt, attacked the Springfield arsenal. While the rebellion was eventually put down by state militia, it also helped make clear the need for a stronger central government capable of protecting democratic institutions.
A report of an alleged assault of a white woman by an African American man led to a race riot in the Illinois capital. On the second day of the riot, the Illinois National Guard was called in to put down the mobs, but black homes and businesses had already been destroyed and two black men lynched.
In a speech at Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln denounced the Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, declaring it “erroneous” and vowing that “we shall do what we can to have [the Supreme Court] over-rule this.”