Notes Regarding Plan of Campaign in 1840, 1
1st Appoint one person in each county as county captain, and take his pledge to perform promptly all the duties assigned him—
Duties of the County Captain
1st To appoint procure from the poll-books a separate list for each Precinct of all the names of all those persons who voted the Whig ticket in August—2
2nd To appoint one person in each Precinct as Precinct Captain, and, by a personal interview with him, procure his pledge, to perform promptly all the duties assigned him—
3rd To deliver to each Precinct Captain the list of names as above, belonging to his Precinct; and also a written list of his duties—
Duties of the Precinct Captain—
1st To divide the list of names delivered him by the county captain, into Sections of ten who reside most convenient to each other—
2nd To appoint one person of each Section as Section Captain, and by a personal
<Page 2>interview with him, procure his pledge to perform promptly all the duties assigned him—
3rd To deliver to each Section Captain the list of names belonging to his Section and also a written list of his duties—
Duties of the Section Captain—
1st To see each man of his Section face to face, and procure his pledge that he will for no consideration (impossibilities excepted) stay from the polls on the first monday in November; and that he will record his vote as early in the day as possible—
2nd To add to his Section the name of every person in his vicinity who did not vote with us in August, but who will vote with us in the fall, and take the same pledge of him, as from the others—
3rd To task himself to procure at least such additional names to his Section— 3
It shall be the duty of each [
...?] of [ ...?] appointed ^ward & Precinct & section office^ to make a
1Abraham Lincoln wrote the notes in their entirety.
Roy P. Basler places these notes as contemporary to the campaign circular authored by Lincoln and four other leading Whigs dated January 31, 1840. Lincoln and the others authored this circular in obedience to a resolution passed by the Whig State Convention.
Basler claims that Lincoln sent this document to Madison Miller, Whig candidate for the House of Representatives from Monroe County. The editors did not locate the document in Miller’s Papers at the Missouri Historical Society, and Basler offers no further collaborative documentation for this contention, so the editors have been unable to verify this assertion.
Roy P. Basler, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:180-81, 201-3.
2Lincoln is making reference to the either the 1838 state elections for governor and the General Assembly or the 1840 Illinois state elections.
3Lincoln would take charge of William Henry Harrison’s campaign in Illinois during the 1840 presidential election. He organized debates and discussions, and he canvassed the state speaking on Harrison’s behalf. Despite Lincoln’s efforts, Illinois would go for Martin Van Buren, 47,443 to 45,576.
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), 117; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:149-61.
Copy of Handwritten Document, 2 page(s). Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).