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The Speech That Made Lincoln President

When Abraham Lincoln ran for president, he didn't campaign on his own behalf. That was deemed unseemly in the political climate of the 1860s. Instead, other speakers hit the hustings to tout the man from Springfield, Ill.

But before his nomination in 1860, Lincoln did make several public appearances. And in February of that year, he gave a speech in New York City that cleared an important obstacle to the presidency. His performance at Cooper Union on Feb. 27 convinced New York Republicans that Lincoln, a Westerner with no formal education, could speak as well as anyone in the East, and was a better candidate for the presidency than New York's own Sen. William Henry Seward.

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with scholar Harold Holzer about his new book, Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.
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