Abraham Lincoln and Others to the Editor of the Illinois Daily Journal1
It is proposed that a Kossuth meeting be held by the citizens, and others now visiting the seat of government on the 8th of January, 7 o’clock P.M., at the Court House, in Springfield. All are invited to attend and to express their views freely.
|A. Lincoln,||L. Trumbull,|
|Archibold Williams,||Thos. L. Harris,|
|E. Peck,||R S Blackwell,|
|W. H. Herndon,||G. Edmunds, Jr.,|
|W. I. Ferguson.|
2The Illinois State Register printed an identical call in its issue on January 6, 1852. The only major variation between the two printings is that the call was dated January 5 in the Register.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49 had received extensive coverage in the American press, and Americans followed Hungary’s revolution against the Austrian Hapsburgs with interest. Americans interpreted the Hungarian struggle and other revolutionary uprisings convulsing Europe as confirmation of America’s own experiment with democracy and conviction that the ideals of liberty and democracy would soon transform Europe. Finding parallels between the Hungarian and the American revolutions, the American public and press sympathized with Louis Kossuth and his fellow revolutionaries. Sympathy for Kossuth and his followers only increased after Austria, with Russian military assistance, crushed the Hungarian uprising. In September 1849, Abraham Lincoln helped draft a series of resolutions adopted by a meeting of Springfield citizens in support of Hungarian freedom. See the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49
In December 1851, Kossuth began a tour of the United States, seeking possible U.S. intervention in the Hungarian revolution. In the public meeting held on January 8, Lincoln proposed resolutions declaring America’s position of non-intervention a “sacred principle of the international law,” while affirming the right of the Hungarians, Irish, and other subject peoples “to revolutionize” against their existing forms of government and to seek national independence.
On January 26, Lincoln was among the Springfield citizens who signed a letter calling for a meeting to take measures to invite Kossuth to visit Springfield on his journey from Indianapolis, Indiana to St. Louis, Missouri.
Sándor Szilassy, “America and the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49,” The Slavonic and East European Review 44 (January 1966), 180; United States Department of State, “America’s Interest in Hungarian Struggle for Independence,” Documents and State Papers 1 (August 1848), 332-33; Elbert B. Smith, The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988), 231-33; Betsy Erkkila, “Lincoln in International Memory,” The Cambridge Companion to Abraham Lincoln, ed. by Shirley Samuels (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 158; Proceedings of Public Meeting regarding Hungarian Freedom; Proceedings of Public Meeting regarding Hungarian Freedom.
Printed Transcription, 1 page(s), Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 6 January 1852, 3:1.