Jesse K. Dubois to Abraham Lincoln, 1 September 18561
Dear Lincoln:
If you could stop down here one day next week during our court and make us one big rousing speech I would give you my hat but if you can not why I will think as much of you as ever.2
Yours,Jesse K. DuBois.
1This printed transcription appeared in the October 1917 issue of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. A manuscript version is not extant.
2Jesse K. Dubois is undoubtedly requesting Abraham Lincoln speak on the subject of the upcoming state and federal elections. Previously, Dubois had written to Lincoln that he could not, “rest contented without your promise me to come to this region.” Dubois’ invitation was one of several Lincoln received during the summer and fall of 1856 as Republicans battled for political power in Illinois and the nation. Between July and November 1856, Lincoln crisscrossed the state canvassing on behalf of Republican Party candidates for political office. He delivered over fifty speeches in support of the Republican cause. See the 1856 Federal Election.
The fall session of the Lawrence County Circuit Court was scheduled to begin September 8, 1856. In his response, Lincoln promised to “strain every nerve” to visit Lawrenceville and Dubois. Lincoln spoke at Lawrenceville on September 19.
In 1856, Republicans nominated John C. Fremont as their first presidential candidate, while Democrats nominated James Buchanan. The American Party, in its final participation in a presidential election, nominated Millard Fillmore. Republicans, concerned that two opposition tickets would favor the Democrats, explored campaign strategies to ensure their candidate, Fremont, would be elected. In a letter to James Berdan in July 1856, Lincoln suggested a possible fusion ticket, bringing together supporters of the American and Republican parties. In the end, Lincoln implemented a mail campaign, sending form letters to Fillmore supporters informing them that every vote for their candidate in Illinois lessened his chance of becoming president.
Lincoln and his fellow Republicans failed to convince Fillmore’s supporters to unite, allowing Democrats to label their opponents as both nativists and worshippers of African Americans. Lincoln’s prediction proved prophetic. Buchanan captured Illinois with 44.1 percent of the vote to 40.2 percent for Fremont and 15.7 for Fillmore and became the fifteenth president of the United States. Indeed, if the votes received by Fremont and Fillmore in Illinois had been combined, Buchanan’s vote would not have been sufficient to carry the state.
“An Act to Change the Limits and Fix the Time for Holding Courts in the Fourth Judicial Circuit,” 12 February 1853, General Laws of Illinois (1853), 64; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 19 September 1856,; 1 November 1856,; Thomas A. Marshall to Abraham Lincoln; Thomas F. Schwartz, “Lincoln, Form Letters, and Fillmore Men,” Illinois Historical Journal 78 (Spring 1985), 66; Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Hull; Abraham Lincoln to Edward Lawrence; Abraham Lincoln to William Ryan; Abraham Lincoln to Harrison Maltby; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:425-33; Philip G. Auchampaugh, “Campaign of 1856,” Dictionary of American History, rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), 1:420-21; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10.

Printed Transcription, 1 page(s), Mary Tracy White, “Historical Notes on Lawrence County, Illinois,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 10 (October 1917), 385.