Question 2 “The House Divided Speech”

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Question2:“TheHouse Divided Speech”

AbrahamLincoln remains one of the makers of the American history. The HouseDivided Speech was an address made by him before he became the 16thPresident of the United States. The speech was made on 16th June1858, upon accepting a Republican nomination to contest for theIllinois state senator seat (Deptula, David, and Greg, 10). Thespeech was centered on the premise of slavery and human rightsviolations that had caused a sharp division between the NorthernUnion States and the Southern Confederate States due to theirdistinct opinions with regard to the issue of slavery. However, thespeech was politically incorrect and too radical for the occasionleading to many unwarranted repercussions.

Lincoln’sgoal of the speech was to prophesy a peaceful way in which theNorthern and the Southern states were to resolve their differenceswith regard to the issue of slavery. Additionally, Lincoln alsowanted to distance himself from the stand taken by his fellowpolitician Douglas, who had long advocated for the sovereignty ofeach state in matters related to slavery. At the time of deliveringhis speech the United States had experienced practices of slavery,and in turn his comments were more about highlighting the negativeaspects related to slavery. Despite the speech being his launch pointfor the campaigns, he failed to communicate the need for both regionsto join politically but rather drove them further apart.

Beforethe delivering of the speech, the Americans had seen the countrydivided into two regions the Northerners Vs the Southerners, on thebasis of slavery. Lincoln’s speech came at a time when the SouthernConfederate States supported slavery as a source of cheap labor fortheir cotton farms. The Northern region, on the other hand, wasagainst slavery and campaigned for its abolishment on the basis that“all human beings are born equal” (Martin et al, 134). TheNorthern Union states were highly industrialized and only practicedsmall-scale farming, thus had a reduced need for slaves. Besides, dueto the many industries, the North attracted many immigrants whoprovided the required labor. The speech heightened these differencesrather than bringing a common ground, making it politicallyincorrect.

Thespeech had several unnecessary consequences. Upon winning the 1860presidential election, Abraham Lincoln pledged to eliminate slaveryfrom all the states. The South deemed this as a setback to theireconomy as they believed that “King Cotton” production woulddecrease (Zarefsky, 430). Following these differences, the SouthernConfederate States, therefore, sought to secede from the North tobecome an independent state, whereas the North was against dividingthe United States. This led to the American Civil War, where theNorthern Union fought the Southern Confederate States. The Northernvictory ensured that the United States remained a one nation with thesubsequent abolishment of slavery in all states (Martin et al, 100).

Atthe time of making the speech, it appeared to be catchy and lackedmuch sense however, the speech becomes an integral element withregard to the relation between the Northern and the Southern States.The speech was politically incorrect, thus intensified the rivalrybetween the two regions wrecking the US with the civil war thatfollowed. It is clear that the unity of the United States wasessential, but Lincoln speech brought the worst civil war in thecountry’s history. In a nutshell, The House Divided Speech remainsone of the historical events in the United States. The incident wasan impactions one that deemed as a key factor in the United StatesCivil War.


Deptula,David A., and R. Greg Brown. &quotA House Divided.&quot&nbspAir&amp Space Power Journal&nbsp22.2(2008): 5-15.&nbspAcademicSearch Premier.Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Martin,James K., Mintz, Randy, Roberts, Mintz, Steven, McMurray, Linda O.,and Jones, James, H. America, and Its Peoples. Fifth Edition. StudyEdition. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007.

Zarefsky,David. &quotLincoln And The House Divided: Launching A NationalPolitical Career.&quot&nbspRhetoric&amp Public Affairs&nbsp13.3(2010): 421-453.&nbspAcademicSearch Premier.Web. 11 Nov. 2015.