A House Divided

Today in History, June 16, 1858:

Illinois “circuit” lawyer Abraham Lincoln, running to be the Senator from that state, gives a speech at the capitol of Springfield and gains the Republican nomination.

One of his most famous speeches, the “House Divided” speech did not gain him the job of US Senator from Illinois, that would go to his opponent, Stephen A. Douglas.

However, published nationally, it did launch him onto the national stage, along with his series of debates against Douglas, which would gain him the Presidency two years later.

The speech was prophetic, as Lincoln told his listeners that after recent events, the nation could no longer expect to be half free and half slave, but must be all one or the other.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

“A House Divided Cannot Stand”

Today in History, June 16, 1858:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

Unsuccessful Senatorial candidate Abraham Lincoln delivers his “house divided” speech when he is nominated as the Republican candidate for the Illinois senatorial seat.

It would be one of his most notable speeches, perhaps only second to the Gettysburg Address.

His message about a house divided…still stands.

The Siege of Gibraltar

Today in History, June 16, 1779:

Reportedly the largest battle (in terms of troops / sailors involved) of the American Revolutionary War begins….at Gibraltar.

When the French came in to aid the Americans, Spain followed suit. But of course, they had their own motives and designs. Primarily to regain lost territories; but they also drew up plans for the invasion and conquest of Britain.

On today’s date French and British forces began a land and sea siege of the British fortress at Gibralter, which was the keystone of English control of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Great Siege of Gibraltar, with constant bombardment, attacks, counter attacks, Naval reinforcement, Naval battles, starvation and disease would continue for 3 years and 7 months.

Gibraltar never fell.

Today in History, June 16, 1816:

Lord Byron hosts a party at Villa Diodati. His guests include the Shelleys, Percy and Mary, Claire Clairmont and John Polidori.

They partake in a reading of the horror collection Fantasmagoriana and Byron challenges his fellow authors to write a ghost story. The result is Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” and Byron’s “Darkness”.