Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Rally – Today in History: March 5
Abraham Lincoln

An early campaign portrait of Republican presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln
- Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

On March 5, 1860, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Republicans of Hartford at City Hall. He spoke to the danger of an indifferent attitude on the topic of slavery, a follow-up to an earlier speech delivered at New York’s Cooper Union. Seen as a moderate voice for antislavery his words were clear and called the audience to action in the upcoming Connecticut elections- “We cannot act otherwise than we do, believing that slavery is wrong. If it is right, we may not contract its limits. If it is wrong, they cannot ask us to extend it. Upon these different views, hinges the whole controversy. Thinking it right, they are justified in asking its protection, thinking it wrong, we cannot consent to vote for it, or to let it extend itself.” When the speech was over, the newly formed Republican organization The Wide Awakes and the Hartford Cornet Band escorted Lincoln on a short carriage ride to the home of Mayor Timothy Allyn.

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