Abraham Lincoln, February 27, 1860

Mathew B. Brady
Salted-paper print

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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“Let us have faith that right makes might. . .”

On February 27, 1860, Lincoln held an overflow crowd at New York’s Cooper Union spellbound as he delivered a careful, comprehensive, and eloquent elucidation of the Republican Party’s opposition to slavery, ending with a near-biblical plea of moral conviction. His speech convinced his audience that he was not a country bumpkin but a serious constitutional thinker and an eloquent representative for the party.


Before the speech, Lincoln had his portrait taken by Mathew Brady, and this picture became known as the “photograph that made Lincoln president.”

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