Monday, November 2, 2009

Abraham Lincoln on the campaign trail in Illinois

Here are a couple of campaign stories from the Lincoln Farm Almanac 1909. I guess establishing relationships with neighbors and potential voters has always been crucial to being a successful politician, and these stories demonstrate Lincoln's abilities in that area.

The first is one I've read often before, but the second is a new one to me. These are on page 16 of this booklet.

When Lincoln was a candidate for the Illinois Legislature, he called on a prosperous farmer in his district, in harvesting time. The men banteringly told him they would vote for him if he could "hold his own" in the wheat field.

Lincoln accepted the challenge, took a cradle, and, with his long, sinewy arms, cut a much wider swath than any of the others, and left them far behind. They all promised to vote for him.

On another occasion, he and his rival called at the same time on a certain farmer who was away from home. Each candidate tried to outdo the other in his attentions to the farmer's wife who was just going out to milk. Lincoln's rival seized the pail and insisted on doing the milking. But he found that his remarks received little attention, for Lincoln and their hostess were chatting in the most friendly way at the bars. When he finished milking, the woman thanked him for giving her "such a nice chance to talk with Mr. Lincoln.

I guess that man would not have appreciated the "Got Milk?" advertising campaign of recent years...

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