Chapter XI. Congressman and Lawyer
In 1846, Mr. Lincoln was again elected
to the legislature.
In the following year the people of his district chose him
to be their
representative in Congress. He took his seat in December. He
thirty-nine years old. He was the only Whig from Illinois.
There were many famous men in Congress at that time. Mr. Lincoln's
life-long rival, Stephen A. Douglas, was one of the senators
Illinois. He had already served a term or two in the House
Daniel Webster was also in the Senate - and so was John C.
Calhoun - and
so was Jefferson Davis.
Mr. Lincoln took an active interest in all the subjects that
Congress. He made many speeches. But, perhaps, the most important
that he did at this time was to propose a bill for the abolition
slave-trade in the city of Washington.
He believed that slavery was unjust to the slave and harmful
nation. He wanted to do what he could to keep it from becoming
greater evil. But the bill was opposed so strongly that it
was not even
After the close of Mr. Lincoln's term in Congress, he hoped
President Taylor, who was a Whig, might appoint him to a good
But in this he was disappointed.
And so, in 1849, he returned to his home in Springfield, and
settled down to the practice of law.
He was then forty years old. Considering the poverty of his
had done great things for himself. But he had not done much
country. Outside of his own state his name was still unknown.
His life for the next few years was like that of any other
lawyer in the newly-settled West. He had a large practice,
but his fees
were very small. His income from his profession was seldom
$2,000 a year.
His habits were very simple. He lived comfortably and respectably.
his modest little home there was an air of order and refinement,
show of luxury.
No matter where he might go, Mr. Lincoln would have been known
Western man. He was six feet four inches in height. His face
homely, but very kind.
He was cordial and friendly in his manners. There was something
him which made everybody feel that he was a sincere, truthful,
man. He was known among his neighbors as "Honest Abe Lincoln."