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Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/70

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saw Lincoln sitting just where he had left him the night before. As if the conversation had not been interrupted Lincoln said to him: "I tell you, this country cannot continue to exist half-slave and half-free."

That sentence became the keynote of his convictions. From that night he again entered politics. One of his friends was running for re-election to Congress. Lincoln began to speak for him and in all of his speeches he attacked the extension of slavery. Finally in 1858 he was nominated for the United States Senate, for the seat then occupied by Douglas. At a convention at Springfield he said:

I do not believe that this government can permanently endure half-slave and half-free. I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

This thought aroused men like a firebell at midnight. There followed the great debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, rival candidates for the Senate. The prize was the presidency of the United States. The odds seemed overwhelmingly in favor of Douglas. He was wealthy, a senator, a trained debater with a magnificent voice, and the leader of the Democratic party. Lincoln was hardly known except as an able country lawyer. Douglas traveled in a special train, car-