Abraham Lincoln to Gustave P. Koerner, 6 August 18581
Hon. G. KoernerMy dear Sir
Yesterday morning I found a drop letter from Gov. Bissell, urging, partly in consequence of a letter from you, that my late speeches, or some of them, shall be printed in pamphlet form both in English and German–2 Having had a good many letters to the same effect, I went at once to the Journal office here, and set them to work to print me in English, fifty dollars worth of my last speech at Springfield (July 17) that appearing, by what I hear, to be the most "taking" speech I have made– For that sum they will furnish about 7000; they will, at the same time print some more, on their own account, and keep the type standing for a while–3 I also wrote to Judd yesterday, to get the same speech done up there in German–4 When I hear from him I will write you again–5
Some things are passing strange– Wednesday morning, Douglas' paper here, the Register, went out crowing over the defeat of Blair, at StLouis; and Blair's paper, the, Missouri Democrat, comes backing next day, puff-
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ing, and encouraging Douglas!6
Please write me, on receipt of this, and let me know if you have any recent news from Madison– Every place seems to be coming quite up to my expectation, except Madison–7
Your friend, as everA. Lincoln
[ docketing ]
Ab. Lincoln
Aug.[August] 6. 1858
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2A letter from William H. Bissell has not been found.
Lincoln was the Republican Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 1858. He ran against, and lost to, Stephen A. Douglas, the incumbent. See the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention; 1858 Federal Election.
The moralizing tone of the Republican platform to stop the spread of slavery led many German-Americans to push for the party to defend immigrants. However, the Republican Party needed both the German votes and the votes of former American Party members to win in 1858. These two groups possessed decidedly opposing viewpoints, with the nativism of the American Party directing its anger at immigrants such as the Germans. Lincoln was not a supporter of nativism and in a letter to Joshua F. Speed in 1855 he wrote, "How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty refined."
Alison Clark Efford, "Abraham Lincoln, German-Born Republicans, and American Citizenship," Marquette Law Review 93 (Summer 2010): 1376-78.
3Lincoln’s July 17, 1858, speech in Springfield was printed in the Illinois State Journal as well as in pamphlet form. Lincoln dispatched copies of the pamphlet for distribution a few days after this letter.
Speech of Hon. Abraham Lincoln, Delivered in Springfield, Saturday Evening, July 17, 1858 ([Springfield?]: n.p., [1858?]); Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 20 July 1858, 2:1-6; 4 November 1858, 3:2; The Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 21 July 1858, 2:4-7, 3:1; Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Abraham Lincoln to Daniel A. Cheever.
4A letter from Lincoln to Norman B. Judd has not been found.
Although no German-language version of Lincoln’s July 17 speech has been located, a German version of the platform of the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention, including the Lincoln's "House-Divided" speech and a speech by Gustave P. Koerner, was published.
Ironically, Lincoln-supporter Leonard Swett blamed the first ten lines of the “House Divided” speech for Lincoln’s loss, arguing that they were too radical for moderates, a category that included German voters.
Platform der Republikaner von Illinois, niedergelegt in der Republikanischen Staatsconvention, gehalten in Springfield, Illinois, 16 Juni 1858, nebst den Reden der Herren Abraham Lincoln und G. Körner, gehalten während der Convention. (Alton, IL: gedruckt in der Office der "Alton Freien Presse," 1858; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:552.
5A follow-up letter from Lincoln to Koerner has not been found.
6Francis P. Blair, Jr. ran against John R. Barret for the U.S. House of Representatives in St. Louis in 1858. The Missouri Democrat supported Stephen A. Douglas and his opposition to election frauds in Kansas. However, when Douglas celebrated the election of Barret, a supporter of the Lecompton Constitution, the newspaper changed course. Barret had run as a regular Democratic nominee rather than as an anti-Lecompton Democrat, prompting one newspaper to claim that this proved that Douglas’s rejection of the Lecompton Constitution, “was but a ruse to pull the wool over the eyes of Republicans and Americans, and thus secure their votes for his re-election to the Senate.” Accusations of fraud soon appeared, and Blair contested Barret’s win. After a lengthy examination, the U.S. House ordered a new election for the remainder of Barret’s term. While Barret remained in his seat to finish out his term per the new election, Blair defeated him for the next term in office.
Urbana Union (IL), 12 August 1858, 2:2; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 5 August 1858, 2:4;Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 622-23; La Grange National American (MO), 14 August 1858, 2:3; L. U. Reavis, Saint Louis: The Future Great City of the World. Biographical Edition (St. Louis: Gray, Baker, 1875), 169.
7Koerner responded on August 12, agreeing that, “We must work hard in that County.”
Lincoln's concern about Madison County proved prescient; Democrats swept to victory in Madison County. Madison County was located in the Eighth Illinois Congressional District. In the 1858 congressional election, Democratic candidate Phillip B. Fouke defeated Republican candidate Jehu Baker with 57.2 percent of the vote to 41.8 percent of the vote, with Madison County giving Fouke 51.2 percent of the vote to 48.1 percent for Baker. In elections for the Illinois General Assembly, Democrat Samuel A. Buckmaster from Madison County beat Joseph Gillespie by 184 votes in the Senate race. The men elected to the House in Madison County—Zephaniah B. Job (over Republican Isaac Cox) and Joseph H. Sloss (over Republican Curtis Blakeman) — both voted for Stephen A. Douglas for U.S. Senate in the 1858 Federal Election, as did Buckmaster.
Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 11, 143; Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1923-1924 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1923), 682; Illinois Senate Journal. 1859. 21st G. A., 30; W. T. Norton, ed., Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois and Its People, 1812 to 1912 (Chicago: Lewis, 1912), 1:81; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:547.
8Koerner wrote this docketing.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Meisei University (Tokyo, Japan) .