Political Success and Strategies
In 1834, Lincoln ran again for the state legislature, and this time he won. Even the Democrats supported him. His strategy had worked he issued no platform statement, made no promises, and gave few speeches. Instead, he shook hands, told jokes, and visited nearly every family in the county. He ran and won again in 1836, 1838, and 1840. Once in office, his Whig leanings came early to the front as he supported internal improvements and the chartering of a state bank.As a young legislator, Lincoln generally voted along Whig Party lines. In 1837, Lincoln took highly controversial position that foreshadowed his future political path, joining with five other legislatorsout of eighty threeto oppose a resolution condemning abolitionists. In 1838, he responded to the death of the Illinois abolitionist and newspaper editor Elijah Parish Lovejoy, who was killed while defending his printing presses from a mob of pro slavery citizens in Alton, Illinois.
In a statesmanlike manner, Lincoln gave a cautious speech at the Springfield Young Mens Lyceum, emphasizing the dangers to democracy and the rule of law when citizens use violence instead of votes and reason to have their way.In 1840, with a keen political eye, Lincoln campaigned for the populist war hero and Whig candidate William Henry Harrison. Abe denounced Democratic candidate Martin Van Buren for having once voted to give free blacks the vote in New York. In taking this position, Lincoln clearly appealed to the racism of the overwhelming majority of Illinois voters. Like many other opponents of slavery, Lincoln, at this point, did not favor citizenship rights for blacks.