Abraham Lincoln, c. 1860, after 1858 original

Fetter’s Picture Gallery, after Christopher S. German

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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“A house divided against itself cannot stand”

Politically, Lincoln started as a Whig, the party of economic growth, territorial expansion, and social mobility. But the Whigs foundered on the issue of slavery, which for Lincoln created a social system that favored a small group of aristocrats.


Lincoln presciently stated, “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” and the Republican Party’s formation was both a cause and a consequence of the nation’s split.

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