Abraham Lincoln to the Editor of the Sangamo Journal, 13 June 18361New Salem, June 13, 1836.To the Editor of the Journal:
In your paper of last Saturday, I see a communication over the signature of “Many Voters,” in which the candidates who are announced in the Journal, are called upon to “show their hands.” Agreed. Here’s mine!2
I go for all sharing the privileges of the government, who assist in bearing its burthens. Consequently I go for admitting all whites to the right of suffrage, who pay taxes or bear arms, (by no means excluding females.)3
If elected, I shall consider the whole people of Sangamon my constituents, as well those that oppose, as those that support me.
While acting as their representative, I shall be governed by their will, on all subjects upon which I have the means of knowing what their will is; and upon all others, I shall do what my own judgment teaches me will best advance their interests. Whether elected or not, I go for distributing the proceeds of the sales of the public lands to the several states, to enable our state, in common with others, to dig canals and construct rail roads, without borrowing money and paying interest on it.4Very respectfully,A. LINCOLN.
1Lincoln apparently wrote this letter on June 13, 1836, and the Sangamo Journal printed it on June 18.
2The letter “To the Editor of the Journal” from “Many Voters” reads, “I perceive the names of several persons in your paper as candidates to represent, or misrepresent, the people of Sangamon County in the Legislature of this State. I think the times demand from them a declaration of their political doctrines at as early a period as possible. Then the people will be better prepared to judge of their qualifications and fitness to serve them. Surely no independent political man can object to this course, and political trimmers we have no use for in this latitude.”
Lincoln was announcing his candidacy for re-election to the House of Representatives. At the August 1, 1836 election for state representative, Lincoln received the highest number of votes of any candidate for Sangamon County. All seven representatives elected to represent Sangamon County were Whigs.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 11 June 1836, 2:5; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 299.
3Women did not serve in the militia. While an unmarried adult woman could own land in her own name, and thus could be liable for property taxes, a male guardian typically conducted the business of paying the taxes on it.
4Prior to the Panic of 1837, Illinois and other states began projects for internal improvement, and the sale of public land and the distribution of the proceeds to the states for canals and railroads was a fundamental tenent of the Whig Party.
5White was one of four candidates that opposed Martin Van Buren in the presidential election of 1836. Van Buren carried Illinois with 18,459 votes (55%) to 15,240 (45%) for his combined challengers. The Anti-Van Buren candidates carried New Salem, 64 to 34, Springfield, 719 to 376, and Sangamon County, 1463 to 903. Roy P. Basler claims that White received all the anti-Van Buren votes, but it is clear from the Sangamo Journal that these totals were for the combined anti-Van Buren ticket.
Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, 104; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 19 November 1836, 2:1.; Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:48.
Printed Document, 1 page(s), Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 18 June 1836, 2:3