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Edward Drislane What a difference time can make

Daniel Webster was one of the most powerful senators in the history of the United States, while Abraham Lincoln was one of the most powerful presidents. Although they were very similar in their political backgrounds, political stances and abilities to lead and persuade others, they differed in the time periods they were in politics. The social and political climate when Webster ran in 1836 was so different to when Lincoln ran in 1860, and therefore the difference of twenty-four years in American history was the reason that Lincoln became president and Webster did not.

Neither Daniel Webster nor Abraham Lincoln attended law school.

This was not

uncommon at the beginning of the nineteenth century, as Harvard Law School was only founded in 1817, and Yale Law School not until 1843. apprenticeship was often the education for future lawyers. ((1)) Instead of law school,

Daniel Webster obtained a position under a prominent attorney named Christopher Gore in 1804. As a clerk under Gore, Webster learned about many legal and political subjects and was accepted into the bar in 1805. He started his own practice in Boscawen, New

Hampshire, but moved to Portsmouth in 1807 to start another practice in 1807. In Portsmouth, Webster gained support because of his efforts concerning local shipping interests and was nominated to the House of Representatives. He became a United States Senator from Massachusetts in 1827, and had many speeches in Congress becoming one of the most influential senators of all time. He also was one of the original members of the Whig Party, founding it in 1833.

Abraham Lincoln became a lawyer on September 9, 1836 under an Illinois law created in 1833 that stated that in order for someone to be a lawyer, they had to "obtain a certificate procured from the court of an Illinois county certifying to the applicant's good moral character." ((2)) He opened his own practice with William Herndon. He was a steadfast Whig, and served four straight terms in the Illinois House of Representatives before being elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1846. He gained national appearances in his rivalry with President Polk and the Mexican-American War, and later in 1858 with the debates between Lincoln and Senator Stephen Douglas.

Although they did not start their political lives in the same fashion, Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster started their own practices and rose to prominence through the United States government. Lincoln and Webster both became Congressman in their 30s and both ran for the presidential office in their early 50s (51 for Lincoln, 53 for Webster). Both were men that were well respected among their peers and both were members of the Whig Party.

The most important issue for Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln concerning their goals to become president were their stances on political issues. These were very

similar. The continued unity of the United States was the most important issue to both men, but slavery was also very important to both as well.

Daniel Websters Second Reply to Hayne is just one of many examples where he fights for the country to stay together. In this speech he disagreed with the idea of nullification for South Carolina, stating that While the Union lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us and our children. ((9)) This is the stance that he held throughout his life. When faced with potentially endorsing the Compromise of 1850 he faced two of his main beliefs in conflict. The Compromise of 1850 faced the unity of the country against the abolishment of slavery. The North had been disagreeing with the South concerning escaped slaves, and one of the five parts of the Compromise of 1850 contained the Fugitive Slave Act that required northerners to return escaped slaves to authorities. Believing in the importance of the unity of the country before all else, Webster endorsed the Compromise of 1850, and therefore the Fugitive Slave Act, to maintain peace and unity throughout the country. ((10)) Some argue that the Compromise of 1850 was successful in delaying the Civil War. ((7))

Abraham Lincoln also found the unity of the states very important and believed it to be vital to the country. He found it important that all American citizens are brothers of a

common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling. ((13)). Further proof to this comes when Lincoln stated that All this talk about the dissolution of the Union is humbug -- nothing but folly. We (the North) WON'T dissolve the Union, and you (the South) SHAN'T. He showed multiple times that the union of the United States was more important than the abolishment of slavery. A few weeks before the war, after many states had seceded, Lincoln wrote to the governors of every state that had seceded, asking for them to rejoin the country and ratify the Corwin Amendment that protected slavery in the states where it already existed ((15)). This clearly showed that Lincoln, similar to Webster, believed that the most important issue was to keep the country intact.

Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln also had similar views concerning slavery. Daniel Webster was an abolitionist and only the continued unity of the country was higher on his list of priorities. When discussing the South, Webster said, They have in their own states peculiar laws, which create property in persons. They have a system of legislation on which slavery rests; while every body agrees that it is against natural law, or at least against the common understanding which prevails among men as to what is natural law. ((6)) This is from some of his remarks in the senate in 1848. It is a clear stand against slavery, stating that freedom is natural and should be universally accepted. Also, in 1845, Webster opposed the annexation of Texas, and the Mexican-American War, for fear that slavery would expand to new states.

Lincoln also disliked slavery. The first action of this was in 1847 when he opposed the Mexican-American War and opposed any expansion that would allow slavery into new areas ((11)). In the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, concerning slavery, Lincoln stated that This declared indifference, but, as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the worldenables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil libertycriticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest. ((12)) This quote not only shows his disdain for slavery, but also his belief that it should not spread to new states. Later evidence of Lincolns disgust with slavery was the

abolishment of slavery under the thirteenth amendment in 1863 when he was president.

Daniel Webster founded the Whig Party with Henry Clay and others in 1833 in opposition to Andrew Jackson and favored modernization and economic protectionism. When Abraham Lincoln was choosing a party, while running for the US Congress in 1846, Lincoln chose the Whig Party even though he was the only Whig in the Illinois delegation. After the Whig Party broke down and fell apart in the early and mid-1850s, the Northern states started to support the Republican Party and many previous members of the Whig Party became Republicans. ((8)) In 1860, Lincoln would run for president as a member of the Republican Party.

The similarities between the two did not end with their political background or beliefs. Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln were often called upon to deliver speeches and each had exceptional skills as orators. Websters most famous speeches include his Second Reply to Hayne and his Seventh of March speech, which revolved around the continued unity of the country. Abraham Lincolns most famous speeches included his First and Second Inaugural Address, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, focusing on slavery and unity of the country. Their exceptional level of skill as orators is rare and is one of the defining features that detail their similarities.

One of Daniel Websters first speeches was at the age of eighteen when he was chosen as the Fourth of July orator in Hanover, New Hampshire (the location of Dartmouth, his undergraduate school). It was no surprise that he was chosen, even at such a young age, as he would later be renowned as one of the best orators of all time.

Daniel Websters skills as a speaker are often one of the first things mentioned when he is discussed. His speaking ability was highlighted many times throughout his life,

especially in Congress, where he had many heated debates. Daniel Websters Second Reply to Hayne concerning the unity of the country is generally regarded as the most eloquent speech ever delivered in congress ((3)). This speech was delivered on January 27, 1830 and he began his speech, his words flowing on so completely at command that a fellow-senator who heard him has

likened his elocution to the steady flow of molten gold. There was an end of all apprehension. Eloquence threw open the portals of eternal day. New England, the Union, the Constitution in its integrity, all were triumphantly vindicated; and the excited crowd which had packed the Senate chamber, filling every seat on the floor and in the galleries, and all the available standing room, dispersed after the orator's last grand apostrophe had died away on the air, with national pride throbbing at the heart. ((5)) In this speech, famous lines like "made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people," as well as Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable! were formed for the first time. Webster captivated all of Congress with his words and ended the debate leaving his opponent put to silence ((5)). This was only one of many famous and well-delivered speeches by Daniel Webster in Congress.

Outside of Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, Harvard celebrates great speakers with the busts of seven orators; Daniel Websters bust is one of the seven. ((4)) This is only an example of one of the countless lists of great orators that Daniel Webster is included in.

Lincoln was also quite skilled in public speaking. In his first chance to address the nonIllinois public, Lincoln stood in New York City at Cooper Union Hall on January 27, 1860 and Lincoln delivered a triumphant address before the sophisticated and demanding audience that night ((16)) Out of the many journalists there to spread his speech, journalist Noah Brooks reported that No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience." ((17)) This speech was

impressive and although he had started the day at least in third place ((18)), this speech and the delivery of it started the cascade to Lincoln becoming president. ((17))

Abraham Lincoln, along with Daniel Webster, often is listed as one of the great orators in American history. His speeches were short as he plunged right into them and left the emotional aspect until the end, but were still very effective and enthralling. For the people who have seen him loved him, and those who have heard him, believed him. His voice was the voice of sympathy, his words were the words of reason and hope. ((19))

Possibly his greatest speech was delivered after the biggest battle of the Civil War in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On November 19, 1863, four and a half months after the battle, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. Although initial reaction was mixed, with many complaints about the short length of the speech, The Springfield Massachusetts Republican newspaper described it as a perfect gemdeep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma. ((20)) The speech is now often regarded as one of the most famous in Americas history. The speech has many familiar lines that include Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal., as well as Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure and government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth ((21)). Many of these are very famous lines and the final is an adjustment to Websters line, stated earlier, that the federal government is "made for the

people, made by the people, and answerable to the people". Abraham Lincoln was very skilled at capturing crowds and leading them because of his oratory skills.

In politics, or in any position where support is needed, being able to captivate an audience is of astounding importance. In Germany throughout the 1920s and 1930s, one of the main reasons that Hitler was able to rise to such great power and convince others to do terrible things was his ability to mesmerize and inspire audiences. Neither Lincoln nor Webster were lacking in this gift of public speaking, and had more than the oratory skill needed to become president.

Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln did not have similar childhoods and were not from the same part of the country. From the time they started their political career, their background in politics were similar and their strong beliefs in the unity of the country as well as their disapproval of slavery were very similar. Also, their abilities to take hold of and lead audiences were of exceptional levels. Because of this, the major difference between Daniel Websters failed attempt at winning the presidency in 1836 and Lincolns victory in 1860 was the change in political and social climate within the United States over that time.

From 1836 until 1860, the main social and political trend that took place was the awareness of the issue of slavery. During this time, there was expansion of the country with a look to the west for hope and fortune. In 1836, although people from the northern states disagreed with people from the southern states, it was not on the forefront of peoples minds. By 1860, the political and social climate had been tense for many years and what had previously been three regions of the country (North, South and West) had become two (slaveholders in the South and non-slaveholders in the North and West).

The social atmosphere greatly changed over this time. In 1830, there was only a small amount of opposition to slavery throughout society, with many everyone aware of its existence and many against it in principle. There was great national pride, with some believing that their fellow American countrymen Would shake hands with a king upon his throne, and think it kindness to his majesty." ((22)) By the 1850s this had greatly changed and many in the north were calling for the immediate abolishment of slavery, while many in the south were calling for the right to move slavery to new states. This was fostered by the expansion of the United States because of manifest destiny, the belief that Americans were to expand across the continent. What had been an otherwise quiet early nineteenth century, now forced people to determine if new states would be slave states or not. Also during this time, citizens in the northern states were becoming more aware of the inhumanity of slavery due to newspapers such as The Liberator. The Liberator was founded in 1831 by William Lloyd Garrison and by the late 1830s was widely distributed, forcing northerners to confront the harsh reality of slavery they had been able to look past before. Southern reaction to this magazine was negative, with the

possibility of being arrested in some southern states if you were to even possess a copy. Also in the late 1830s and throughout the 1840s and 1850s, the New England and American Anti-Slavery Societies were beginning to gain large amounts of support. ((23)) These heightened attitudes concerning slavery hit a peak in 1854 with the KansasNebraska Act. Bleeding Kansas was the conflict that occurred over whether or not the Kansas territory would become a free state or slave state. There was open violence and carnage on both sides during the public vote. This showed the drastic difference in the strength of public attitude compared to two decades before when slavery in the north had been given little thought.

The political climate in the 1830s focused on the Great Triumvirate of United States politics with Daniel Webster representing the feelings of Northern businessmen, John C. Calhoun representing the feelings of Southern slaveholders and Henry Clay representing the feelings of Western settlers. The major issue at this time was slavery. This did not change but only amplified over the next thirty years leading up to the Civil War. These three senators represented the three different regions of the country that were still very different in views from each other. Although there was much unrest growing in social areas, slavery was not a major factor in the Election of 1836. ((24)) Rather, the main issue in the 1836 election was the criticism of Andrew Jackson. Over the next twenty years, slavery became a larger and larger issue, leading to the Compromise of 1850 and then later to the Civil War. In the Compromise of 1850, the differences between slave states and non-slave states were highlighted, leading to the Midwest settlers of the country to grow fonder of the Northern businessmen than the Southern slaveholders. ((7))

With two of the three regions of the country pitted against slavery, the main issue of the 1860 election was the issue of slavery.

During this time period, in public and political environments, slavery had been brought to the forefront of American issues. This difference, and therefore restructuring of political and social allies, opened the door for Abraham Lincoln to become president, a door that was not available to Daniel Webster. Webster and Lincoln were both awe-inspiring orators and were of similar age and party when running for president. Most importantly, they were of very similar political views and priorities. Webster lost the 1836 election and Lincoln won the 1860 election with the primary difference being the bubbling of a nation over twenty-four years.