The House At Eighth And Jackson

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Lincoln’s legendary humility was the public product of private self-assurance; we can be certain that he had himself often thought about the Presidency. Mary shared her husband’s aspirations and helped focus his energies upon realizing them, but she did not create them.

Lincoln’s subsequent loss to Douglas was disappointing but not devastating. “I believe . . . you are ‘feeling like hell yet,’” Lincoln told one supporter a few days after the votes were counted. “Quit that; You will soon feel better. Another ‘blow-up’ is coming; and we shall have fun again.” A national figure at last, he was flooded with invitations to speak, and in September he packed his bag, said good-bye to the boys, as he had so many times before, and set forth on a political swing through Ohio. This time his wife went with him.

In Cincinnati, on September 17, a large crowd turned out at the Fifth Street Market to hear him. Mary sat proudly near the platform. “There is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst us,” she heard him tell his audience. “Twenty-five years ago, I was a hired laborer. The hired laborer of yesterday, labors on his own account today, and will hire others to labor for him tomorrow. Advancement—improvement in condition—is the order of things in a society of equals.”

For Lincoln, the comfortable house in which he and Mary and their children lived provided vivid, reassuring proof of how far a man might rise in the society of equals that he would one day give his life to preserve.

“Here I Have Lived”