1856 Illinois Anti-Nebraska Convention

Place: Bloomington, Illinois

The Bloomington, or Anti-Nebraska, Convention was held in Bloomington, Illinois, on May 29, 1856. Its primary purpose was to select a gubernatorial candidate to represent a loose coalition of politicians opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act but amounted to the founding convention of the Illinois Republican Party. Abraham Lincoln spoke at the convention but the specific contents of his speech are unknown. Reports and recollections indicate that Lincoln voiced his commitment to Union and opposition to slavery on political and moral grounds. William H. Bissell received the gubernatorial nomination with John Wood as his running mate.

Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:415-21; David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 191; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 25 September 1856, 2:1.