Bibliographic List of Sources:

Lincoln, Abraham. “Conclusion of the Republican State Convention. Speech of Hon. Abraham Lincoln.” (1858?). Accessed May 17, 2011 <>. [=A]

Lincoln, Abraham.  “‘A House Divided’: Speech at Springfield, Illinois,” Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1953), 2, 461-69. [=B] 


  1. Speech Title as it is to be printed:  “A HOUSE DIVIDED”: SPEECH AT SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS.
  2. Exact Date and Place of Speech Delivery: 16 June 1858 at Republican State Convention held at the Illinois Statehouse in Springfield, Illinois.
  3. Complete Name of Speaker, with year and birth and year of death: Abraham         Lincoln (1809-1865).
  4. Complete name of editor or compiler of electronic text, with indication of role: David Zarefsky (editor).
  5. Date of Electronic edition: 2010.
  6. Languages: English (100%)
  7. Library of Congress Subject Heading: Abraham Lincoln Speeches, United States, Public Opinion; Library of Congress Classification: E457.
  8. Indication of editing functions performed (e.g., data entry, proof-reading), by David Zarefsky, December 2010.

This is the standard version of the text as printed in the definitive edition of Lincoln’s collected papers.  The text was printed in the Illinois State Journal of June 18, 1858 (supplied by Lincoln after he delivered the speech), collated with a variation printed in the Chicago Daily Tribune of June 19, 1858.  The Basler text reconciles minor discrepancies in favor of common usage.  Paragraphing and italics are as in the Illinois State Journal text, which Lincoln proofread.  Paragraph numbers have been added in square brackets. 

This copy text is not subject to end-of-line hyphenation. 

The text of this edition has been thoroughly checked and proofread.


All italicized words reflect the copy text. Paragraphing reflects the divisions established in Source B.

Mr. President B: Mr. PRESIDENT A

1 could then better B: could better A

2 initiated, with B: initiated with A

4 reached, and B: reached and

6 endure, permanently B: endure permanently A

9 in course of B: in the course of A

11 but also, let B: but also, but let A

11 its chief bosses B: its chief architects A

13 slavery excluded from B: slavery exuluded A

13 States by State B: States by States A (although the “s” on the second States is marked out)

17 or state B: or State A

19 members, “let us be more specific – let us amend B: opposition members, “let us amend A

19 the measure, and B: the measure; and A

20 law case, involving B: law case involving A

20 a negroe’s freedom B: a negro’s freedom A

20 free state and then a territory covered B: free State and then into a Territory covered A

20 The negroe’s name B: The negro’s name A

21 argued in the Supreme B: argued in the Supreme A

21 Still, before the election B: Still before the election A

21 of a territory can B: of a Territory can A

27 at this capitol B: at this capital A

28 had ever been entertained. B: had ever been entertained! A

29 the Lecompton constitution B: the Lecompton Constitution A

29 in that squabble the latter B: in that quarrel the latter A

29 has suffered much B: has suffered so much A

30 That principle, is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine. B: That principle is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrince A

31 advancement. This was the third point gained. The working B: advancement. The working A

33 First, that no negro B: First, That no negro A

33 descendant of such slave can ever B: descendant of such slave, can A

34 of this provision B: of that provision A

34 declares that—”The B: declares that “The A

36 Secondly, that “subject B: Secondly, That “subject A

38 Thirdly, that whether B: Thirdly, That whether A

40 opinion, to not care B: opinion, not to care A

41 and partially also B: and partially, also A

42 “perfectly free” “subject B: “perfectly free,” “subject A

43 the people to exclude slavery, voted down? B: the people, voted down? A

43 enough now, the adoption of it, would B: enough now: the adoption of it would A

44 Why, even a Senator’s B: Why even a Senator’s A

44 enough now, the speaking out B: enough now: the speaking out A

44 damaged the “perfectly free” argument upon B: damaged the perfectly free argument upon A

46 and petting a spirited horse, preparatory to B: and petting of a spirited horse preparatory to A

47 after indorsements of B: after indorsement of A

48 lacking, we can see the B: lacking, we see the A

48 prepared to yet bring such piece in – in such a case, we find it impossible to not believe that B: prepared yet to bring such piece in – in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that A

48 first lick was struck B: first blow was struck A

49 free” “subject B: free,” “subject A

50 for territories B: for Territories A

50 of a territory B: of a Territory A

50 of a state B: of a State A

51 expressly B: expresely A

51 legislature to exclude slavery from any United States territory B: Legislature to exclude Slavery from any United States Territory A

51 to say whether or not the same Constitution permits a State B: to declare whether or not the same Constitution permits a State A

52 this was a B: this is a A

52 of a state to slavery B: of a State to Slavery A

52 territory, into the Nebraska bill – I ask B: Territory, into the Nebraska bill; – I ask A

52 one case, as it had been in the other. B: one case as it had been in the other? A

53 over slavery, is B: over Slavery, is A

53 language too, of the Nebraska act. On one occasion his B: language, too, of the Nebraska act. On one occasion, his A

53 of slavery within B: of Slavery within A

54 the states is so restrained by the U.S. Constitution B: the States is so restrained by the United States Constitution A

54 Put that and that B: Put this and that A

54 permit a state B: permit a State A

58 State free; and we shall awake to the reality, instead, B: State free, and we shall awake to the reality instead, A

58 a slave state. To B: a slave State. – To A

61 But how can B: How can A

62 that object. They do not tell us, nor has he told us, that he wishes any such object to be effected. They wish B: that object. They wish A

62 the facts, that B: the fact, that A

62 with us, on B: with us on A

64 Douglas’ superior B: Donglas’ superior A

65 And, unquestionably B: And unquestionably A

69 wish to not misrepresent B: wish to not misrepresent A

70 our great cause B: our cause A

71 promise to ever be. B: promise ever to be. A

72 by its own B: by, its own A

75 even, hostile B: even hostile A

75 proud, and B: proud and A

76 brave all then B: brave all them A

76 – now – when that B: – now, when that A

78 accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later the victory B: accelerate, or mistake delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory A

This speech was authenticated by David Zaresky with the aid of Elizabeth Gardner, University of Maryland.