Lincoln: House Divided Speech Springfield, Illinois June 16, 1858

On June 16, 1858 more than 1,000 delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention. At 5:00 p.m. they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. At 8:00 p.m. Lincoln delivered this address to his Republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives. The title reflects part of the speech’s introduction, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” a concept familiar to Lincoln’s audience as a statement by Jesus recorded in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).

Even Lincoln’s friends regarded the speech as too radical for the occasion. His law partner, William H. Herndon, considered Lincoln as morally courageous but politically incorrect. Lincoln read the speech to him before delivering it, referring to the “house divided” language this way: “The proposition is indisputably true … and I will deliver it as written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known, that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.”

The speech created many repercussions, giving Lincoln’s political opponent fresh ammunition. Herndon remarked, “when I saw Senator Douglas making such headway against Mr. Lincoln’s house divided speech I was nettled & irritable, and said to Mr. Lincoln one day this — ‘Mr. Lincoln — why in the world do you not say to Mr. Douglas, when he is making capitol out of your speech, — ‘Douglas why whine and complain to me because of that speech. I am not the author of it. God is. Go and whine and complain to Him for its revelation, and utterance.’ Mr. Lincoln looked at me one short quizzical moment, and replied ‘I can’t.'”

Reflecting on it several years later, Herndon said the speech did awaken the people, and despite Lincoln’s defeat, he thought the speech made him President. “Through logic inductively seen,” he said, “Lincoln as a statesman, and political philosopher, announced an eternal truth — not only as broad as America, but covers the world.”

Another colleague, Leonard Swett, said the speech defeated Lincoln in the Senate campaign. In 1866 he wrote to Herndon complaining, “Nothing could have been more unfortunate or inappropriate; it was saying first the wrong thing, yet he saw it was an abstract truth, but standing by the speech would ultimately find him in the right place.”

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on this day 6/16 1858 – In a speech in Springfield, IL, U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln said the slavery issue had to be resolved. He declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

0455 – Rome was sacked by the Vandal army.

1487 – The War of the Roses ended with the Battle of Stoke.

1567 – Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle in Scotland.

1815 – Napoleon defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny, Netherlands.

1858 – In a speech in Springfield, IL, U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln said the slavery issue had to be resolved. He declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

1884 – At Coney Island, in Brooklyn, NY, the first roller coaster in America opened.

1883 – The New York Giants baseball team admitted all ladies for free to the ballpark. It was the first Ladies Day.

1897 – The U.S. government signed a treaty of annexation with Hawaii.

1903 – Ford Motor Company was incorporated.

1904 – The novel “Ulysses” by James Joyce took place. The main character of the book was Leopold Bloom.

1907 – The Russian czar dissolved the Duma in St. Petersburg.

1909 – Glenn Hammond Curtiss sold his first airplane, the “Gold Bug” to the New York Aeronautical Society for $5,000.

1922 – Henry Berliner accomplished the first helicopter flight at College Park, MD.

1925 – France accepted a German proposal for a security pact.

1932 – The ban on Nazi storm troopers was lifted by the von Papen government in Germany.

1940 – Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain became the prime minister of the Vichy government of occupied France.

1941 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the closure of all German consulates in the United States. The deadline was set as July 10.

1952 – “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl” was published in the United States.

1955 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend Selective Service until 1959.

1955 – Pope Pius XII excommunicated Argentine President Juan Peron. The ban was lifted eight years later.

1955 – Argentine naval officers launched an attack on President Juan Peron’s headquarters. The revolt was suppressed by the army.

1961 – Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union while in Paris, traveling with the Leningrad Kirov Ballet.

1963 – 26-year-old Valentina Tereshkova went into orbit aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft for three days. She was the first female space traveler.

1972 – Ulrike Meinhof was captured by West German police in Hanover. She was co-founder of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group and the Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion).

1975 – The Simonstown agreement on naval cooperation between Britain and South Africa ended. The agreement was formally ended by mutual agreement after 169 years.

1976 – In Soweto, thousands of school children revolted against the South African government’s plan to enforce Afrikaans as the language for instruction in black schools.

1977 – Leonid Brezhnev was named the first Soviet president of the USSR. He was the first person to hold the post of president and Communist Party General Secretary. He replaced Nikolai Podgorny.

1978 – U.S. President Carter and Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos ratified the Panama Canal treaties.

1978 – The film adaptation of “Grease” premiered in New York City.

1980 – The movie “The Blues Brothers” opened in Chicago, IL.

1981 – The “Chicago Tribune” purchased the Chicago Cubs baseball team from the P.K. Wrigley Chewing Gum Company for $20.5 million.

1983 – Yuri Andropov was elected chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. The position was the equivalent of president.

1984 – Wilson Ferreira Aldunate was arrested upon his return from an eleven year exile. Aldunate had been a popular Uruguayan opposition leader.

1985 – Willie Banks broke the world record for the triple jump with a leap of 58 feet, 11-1/2 inches in the U.S.A. championships in Indianapolis, IN.

1992 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush welcomed Russian President Boris Yeltsin to a meeting in Washington, DC. The two agreed in principle to reduce strategic weapon arsenals by about two-thirds by the year 2003.

1993 – The U.S. Postal Service released a set of seven stamps that featured Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Clyde McPhatter, Otis Redding, Ritchie Valens, Dinah Washington and Elvis Presley.

1996 – Russian voters had their first independent presidential election. Boris Yeltsin was the winner after a run-off.

1999 – The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that a 1992 federal music piracy law does not prohibit a palm-sized device that can download high-quality digital music files from the Internet and play them at home.

2000 – U.S. federal regulators approved the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE Corp. The merger created the nation’s largest local phone company.

2000 – U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson reported that an employee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico had discovered that two computer hard drives were missing.

2008 – California began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services ~ Storms,Heat,Zika,Safety and Dad’s

Public Health Emergency. Resilient People. Healthy Communities. A Nation Prepared.

Serving through the Storm: Choosing the Right Service Organization

Hurricane season is here!  You can help communities stay healthy, safe and strong through the storm.  Get started before the storm strikes! Learn about three service organizations that help protect health and save lives when disaster strikes and how to join.  Learn More >>

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Beat the Heat:  Preventing and Treating Heat-Related Illness

Summer is here and temperatures are rising across many parts of the country, putting many people at risk for heat-related illness. But not everybody has the same level of risk.  Children under four years of age, adults over 65, people who are overweight, and people who are on certain medications are more susceptible to heat related illness. Find out how you can prevent heat-related illnesses and how recognize when someone needs help.  Learn More >>

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Protect Your Partner from Zika

If you are infected with Zika, you can transmit it to your partner – even if you don’t have symptoms.  Many people infected with Zika virus don’t have symptoms or only have mild symptoms, and they may not know they have been infected. Think you might be infected?  Recently traveled to a location where Zika is present?  Use a condom to prevent spreading the virus. Learn More >>

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Be Ready to Help!  Bystander Response Saves Lives

During National Safety Month, people and organizations across the country are asking themselves “what does it take to keep each other safe?” One simple answer: be ready to help!  Learn about 5 simple steps that you can take to save someone’s life if they are hurt. Learn how you can help keep a critically injured person alive until help arrives.  Learn More >>

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Be a Super Dad! Make Sure Your Family is Ready for Disasters

Make plans now to keep your family safe and healthy in a disaster.  Get a kit.  Make a plan.  Do a drill.  By taking some time to prepare before a disaster strikes, you can help your family face a tornado, flood, hurricane or whatever other disasters are common in your area.  Learn More >>

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WATCH: The man who helped oversee Obamacare weighs in

Andy Slavitt oversaw the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under President Obama. He helped manage programs that brought health care to more than 140 million Americans. And he was pivotal in implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Today, he has a message for OFA supporters on the importance of protecting Obamacare from repeal:

Watch this video and then let your friends know by sharing it: Twenty-three million fewer Americans with insurance. Premium increases as high as 800 percent. An $880 billion cut to Medicaid. This can’t happen.

Watch the video



Saumya Narechania
National Issues Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

URGENT: Tell the Senate to Reject ACA Repeal NOW

Do your part to protect our care. Take action now!

THIS is the moment.

Right now Senate Republican leaders are finalizing the details of their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—in secret. They’re keeping the bill hidden until they’ve negotiated a deal with other Republicans, one that will very likely strip health care coverage from millions of people, including taking away Medicaid coverage and putting maternity coverage at risk.

We can’t let them reach that deal. We need to flood the Senate phone lines now.

Urge Your Senators to Oppose ACA Repeal
Here are simple steps for calling your Senators.

  • Step 1: Call the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to one of your Senators.
  • Step 2: Once you are connected, say:

“As your constituent, I urge you to reject ACA repeal. No one should lose their health coverage, and this repeal bill threatens the health care of millions of people including women, elderly people, children, and people with disabilities. [If you have a personal story to share, adding why the ACA has been important to you is an especially powerful message.]”

  • Step 3: Hang up, call again and ask for your other Senator.
Take Action

We are at a critical point in our fight to protect affordable health care. And yet, we’re hearing news reports that the Senate phones lines have been mostly quiet. There is too much at stake for any of us to stay silent right now. Whether you think your Senators oppose repeal or not, every call matters. Pick up the phone now and do your part to protect our care!

If this repeal bill is similar to the House version like Senate Republican leaders and the Trump administration have promised, it would be devastating for women by:

  • Blocking people from getting preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers, including birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment;
  • Radically changing the Medicaid program in ways that will leave low-income women without essential health coverage;
  • Allowing insurance plans to treat being a woman as a preexisting condition; and
  • Penalizing women seeking insurance coverage that includes abortion.

None of us can afford to sit this fight out. We need to call our Senators today – AND tomorrow – to show them that We, the Resistance will not stand for any attacks on our care.

Thank you for fighting and resisting with us.

Gretchen Borchelt
Vice President for Reproductive Rights and Health
National Women’s Law Center

P.S. Do you or your friends or loved ones live in any of these states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia? The Senators there may be on the fence, so it’s extra important that they hear from their constituents in opposition of ACA repeal. Make sure to forward this email and tell your friends it is crucial that they call their Senators today.

We the Resistance is our fight to protect our rights and freedoms and to defend the most vulnerable among us through powerful collective action. Every conversation you have with a loved one about the issues important to you, every call you make to Congress, every rally you attend is a part of that resistance. Join us — sign on to the We The Resistance manifesto.