Speech of A. Lincoln, of Illinois, on the Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation Bill, 1848

A Whig National Vision

Like his fellow Whigs, Lincoln favored public investment in transportation infrastructure to promote national economic development. Lincoln attended a convention held in Chicago in 1847 to promote river and harbor improvements. He spoke briefly, and was characterized in Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune as a “tall specimen of an Illinoisan.”

In a speech in Congress in 1848 Lincoln argued, “Nothing is so local as not to be of some general benefit.” He pointed to the recently opened Illinois and Michigan Canal which connected the Great Lakes with the Mississippi, as an investment that would benefit merchants and consumers in far distant Louisiana and New York, as well as residents in Illinois.