Abraham Lincoln on the Greatest Threat to the Republic
This quote is from a speech a 28-year-old Lincoln gave to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838.
The speech entitled “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions,” but is better known at “Lincoln’s Lyceum address.” It was this speech that helped to propel Lincoln to state-wide and later national prominence.
In the speech, Lincoln spoke about the dangers of slavery in the United States, how the institution could corrupt the federal government. He also warned that mobs or people who disrespected American laws and courts could destroy the United States.
The address was published in the Sangamon Journal, helping to establish Lincoln’s reputation as an orator. As the Lyceum address was one of Lincoln’s earliest published speeches, it has been examined thoroughly by historians. Gore Vidal claimed to have used this speech to fully understand Lincoln’s character for his historical novel Lincoln.
Recently The New Yorker published a piece “Abraham Lincoln Warned Us About Donald Trump.” In it, Philip Gourevitch connects the 178-year-old address to the rise of the Donald Trump and his followers.