On the morning of February 27, 1860, a relatively un-known ex-congressman named Abraham Lincoln walked into photographer Mathew Brady’s studio at 634 Broadway in New York. In preparing the homely, clean-shaven politician for a portrait, Brady drew up Lincoln’s collar in an effort to improve his appearance. Then Brady made his picture. The result, historian Mary Panzer noted, was a portrait of a firm, determined Lincoln who had the look of a statesman.
That evening at New York’s Cooper Union, Lincoln delivered an address about his views opposing slavery. His argument for prohibiting the spread of slavery into the western territories ignited his Republican audience. Lincoln later went to the offices of the New York Tribune to proofread his speech, determined that every word appear correctly. Lincoln did not deliver many speeches during the presidential election. His standard response to questions about issues was, “Read my Cooper Union speech.”
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