Next we have a very interesting item in the quest for freedom from 1860, but it does not relate to the cause of abolition of slavery. Item 11 is Woman's Influence in Politics: An Address delivered by Henry Ward Beecher, at the Cooper Institute, New York, Thursday Evening, Feb. 2d, 1860. The timing and location is important, as just a few weeks later, on February 27, Abraham Lincoln would deliver his speech at the same location, now better known as Cooper Union, that would propel the somewhat obscure former Illinois congressman to the Republican presidential nomination over his better known rivals. In it, Lincoln would methodically show how Congress had the right to prevent the expansion of slavery to new territories, the major political issue of the day. It was the clergyman Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe of Uncle Tom's Cabin fame), who invited Lincoln to New York. Lincoln's speech was originally to be presented at Beecher's church, but was later moved to Cooper Union. However, on February 2, Beecher, also an abolitionist, spoke about woman's suffrage at Cooper Union. He declared that allowing women to vote would improve political discourse. He states, “The moment you bring into our public affairs woman's influence, her stronger moral sentiment, her moral courage, and the faith in all that is good, then you will have God's foundation for more and public peace. The principles will not only be discussed but applied, and legislation will grow heroic.” While not that well remembered today, Rev. Beecher was likely the most influential man in America at the time. $300.
Here is a minor fact you you may not know. When Lincoln gave his Cooper Union speech on February 27, 1861, he had no beard. We know this from a picture taken that very day by noted New York photographer Matthew Brady. In 1861, a large sheet was published showing portraits of the first 16 presidents, from George Washington through Abraham Lincoln. It includes Brady's clean-shaven Lincoln portrait. The 16 portraits surround a symbolic female representing America. It was a valiant effort to stir patriotic sentiments in a nation that was in the process of breaking apart at the seams. Item 43. $3,500.
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