When Abraham Lincoln ran for the presidency, he was considered a “long shot”. Some newspapers called him “ a third-rate Western lawyer.” Many in his own Republican Party did not want him, but since he was from the swing state of Illinois and did not have any skeletons in his closet, he won the Republican nomination. He was aided by the fact that the Republican Convention was held in Chicago that year and it was much easier for him to get his local supporters out to the convention.
Lincoln declared his opposition to slavery in 1854. In a speech against the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska Act, Lincoln said: “I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world.”
During his 1858 Senate campaign, he delivered his famous “House Divided” speech, saying: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.”
On November 7, 1860, in the early morning hours, he got word that he had won the election. Soon after this he received some death threats before he left Springfield for Washington, so he made his way to the White House in disguise. Critics called him a coward and spread stories that he has sneaked into Washington dressed in his wife’s clothing.