This structure, pictured here in
a late nineteenth century photograph, was one of several occupied by
Abraham Lincoln in New Salem, Illinois. In this brief period Lincoln's
native abilities, wit, and humor impressed the village's leaders, who
encouraged him to run for the state legislature. Lincoln identified
himself with the emerging Whig Party that opposed President Andrew Jackson
and envisioned economic development as an engine of individual and social
improvement and an enlightened civilization. The Black Hawk War interrupted
Lincoln's first campaign for the legislature, but in 1834 he won election.
As the condition of this structure suggests, the village of New Salem
did not prosper. In April of 1837 Lincoln, now licensed to practice
law, removed to the new state capitol of Springfield.