tv Old State Capitol CSPAN February 18, 2019 7:48pm-8:01pm EST
noted presidential historian. explore the life events that shape our leaders, challenges say face and the legacies that have left behind. published by public affairs. c-span is a president will be on shelf april 23. you can preorder your copy of the hardcover or e-book today. at c spohn.org/the president or wherever books are sold. abraham lincoln gave his farewell address to supporters in springfield at the train depot before departing to washington dc. in this speech he said here i have lived a quarter of a century and have passed from a young to an old man. here my children have been born, one is barry. i now leave not knowing when or whether ever i may return. next we visit springfield's old state capital where lincoln delivered his house divided speech. we are in the old state
capital, we call it that because in springfield there are two capitals. the significance of this building is that it was the capital of illinois from 1840 until 1876 . >> some of the well-known events that occurred in this building were abraham lincoln's house divided speech that he gives in 1858 and after lincoln's assassination in 1865 his body lies here in state for nearly 75,000 people came to this building in a 22 hour time period to pay their us respects to the fallen president. the population of illinois is starting to move northward. when springfield is established, this tiny little town of about 1500 is actually larger than a small outpost in lake michigan called chicago. springfield becomes the capital city central location in illinois.
as the population starts to expand northward the ideas of slavery begin to change. lincoln comes to the building in 1840 as a representative. after lincoln's assassination in 1865 his body lies here in state where nearly 75,000 people came to this building in a 22 hour time period to pay their respects to the fallen president. as springfield becomes the state capital in 1839 the population of illinois is starting to move northward. when springfield is established this tiny town of about 1500 is actually larger than a small outpost on lake michigan called chicago. so springfield becomes the capital city as it is a central location in illinois. as the population starts to expand northward the ideas of slavery then begin to change. linking comes to this building in 1840 as a representative.
lincoln served four terms as a representative but he serves his last and final between the years of 1840 and 41 in this building. here on the main historic level of the oath a capital we have the state library and this is where abraham lincoln started to hone his political career. it was in the state library where he was always surrounded with information and knowledge and a lot of people as well. his friends said he was a very competitive chess player in the state library. it was here in this room where abraham lincoln debates the house divided speech before he gives it in the middle of june 1865 in a biography he says they sat around a long table here in the state library and debated that. it is very interesting because he says he was the only one that supported abraham lincoln's ideas and that his friends all said if you say these radical things chances are you probably won't win the election.
his friends are white rights and he goes on to lose that election but these ideas about what this freedom does freedom mean and how do we interpret that today started for abraham lincoln here in this building in this room , possibly even around this very table. behind me is representative hall. in 1840 there were not assigned seats as there are in today's state capital but back then the democrats sat on the left-hand side and the whigs later to become the republican party sat on the right. abraham lincoln, a creature of habit most of the times that the second row back, third seat in. he sat in this place mostly i think to be around people that were like-minded of him. as people sat closer to the middle this became what we will call the moderates, then those
people who were radicals sat on the bar either left or right because they couldn't get along with the other political party. it was the people closer to the middle but had the like-minded ideas. abraham lincoln gives his house divided speech here in 1858 . as the newspaper said he took the stage by the glow of the gas lamps to a packed house in the middle of june 1858. the house divided speech was what lincoln was giving in response to being nominated as the next u.s. senator from illinois. steve douglas's main political rival was also nominated for that u.s. senate seat so these two gentlemen would give speeches in representative hall to kickstart their campaign for the u.s. senate seat. at that time the u.s. senate seat was elected by the legislators so these gentlemen had nine different debates throughout central illinois and those debates then would spark interest in men contacting their legislators and representatives so that they
would then in turn vote for lincoln or douglas. steve douglas believing in popular senator and that the states should have the right to choose whether they should have slaves or not but abraham lincoln outlying an idea that the united states should mandate that every single person in the united states is free, not states having that freedom to choose whether they should have slaves or not. abraham lincoln in his house divided speech references a book of the bible and a passage that says, a house divided against itself cannot stand. this nation abraham lincoln says cannot indoor being half slave and half free . he goes on to say it will become all one thing. abraham lincoln then outlines the ideas that this nation should be a completely free nation and that the united states government should deem that everyone in the united states is free, not to be subject to the tyranny of slavery.
in 1858 when abraham lincoln gives the house divided speech the house erupted with large applause afterwards because of the fact that abraham lincoln was surrounded by all of those people of the same political party and his ideas definitely were radical but he would feel confident that he could go on and compete against stephen douglas, the bait douglas nine different times in central illinois debate douglas in nine times in central illinois and douglas would go on to win that election. after lincoln loses the seat he does not hold any political office until that of the presidency when he runs for the president in 1860. he utilized this building for his campaign headquarters. some gentlemen came to his house one evening and asked him, would you consider running for president of the united states? abraham lincoln actually said, i think i will have to think about that . later abraham
lincoln gives his response that he would run for president of the united states. this room was the governor's reception room, the governor's office is next door. this is where the governor would have greeted guests and during the 1860 campaign for president abraham lincoln utilizes this as his campaign headquarters or his office if you will. we have an original newspaper for an artist that illustrated this room when lincoln had his reception here . we set this up as it would have been when he would have known what this room was like. one of the most unusual things in this room is the large wooden chain that hangs in the corner. now we don't really know a lot about that wooden chain but it shows up in the original newspaper illustration. we have reproduced it to place it here. we do know it was given to
abraham lincoln by one of the well-wishers in 1860 that came from wisconsin. that gentlemen said he carved that out of a single piece of wood. some scholars have put on their lincoln thinking caps if you will and thought about the significance behind that chain. abraham lincoln will go off to become president in 1861 breaking the chains of slavery so maybe there is some significance about a chain there. however it wasn't until the civil war when we started referring to the united states as a singular noun, it was prior to the civil war that we talked about these united states with the emphasis being put on the individuality of the state, after the civil war the nation then is the precipice. the united states. you see this one piece of wood carved into many different links that may have more significance than that man from
wisconsin might have wanted to lead on about. abraham lincoln is elected in the election of 1860 in a couple short months later abraham lincoln is making the journey to washington giving his farewell address to springfield from the train depot . he was always planning on returning to springfield but he never does. only has body comes back here after his assassination in 1865 doesn't lie in state here in this building in representative hall. all of the furniture was completely cleared out of this room including both podiums, a black canopy was set up underneath which lincoln's "and was placed. people came through this room about 75,000 mourners to pay their respects to the fallen president. the town of springfield is about 15,000 at the time. by 1876 this building is no longer the state capital. the
legislature outgrows this building and they start to look for other locations. by 1868 they start construction on what we will call the new and currency capital. the most important thing about preserving old buildings may not necessarily be for the architectural value they have. don't get me wrong it does have architectural value that is important to springfield history but it is because of the people that worked here that this building is important. when people come to springfield and visit these places they get a sense of not only what it was like for the people that worked here but the people themselves who worked here to make a difference in our state and even our nations history.