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The entire state was caught up in the dramatic exchanges. Despite Lincoln’s success in the debates, it was not enough to win the election. Douglas retained his position as senator. Lincoln was sorely disappointed by the loss, but he kept his public persona positive and confident. He did not give up on the local politics that had brought him such success. However, he also recognized that his strong anti-slavery position in the debates had brought him some national attention. He had transcripts of the debates published so that they could be read more widely.

A different kind of opportunity would soon present itself in Abraham Lincoln’s personal life. Her name was Mary Todd. • 28 • Abraham Lincoln Mary Todd • 29 • Chapter 4 Abraham Lincoln, 1846 Lincoln as Husband and Father A braham Lincoln met Mary Todd in December 1839 at a cotillion in Springfield. He was awkward and shy around most women, so dating was difficult. He did have a friendship once with Ann Rutledge, the tavern owner’s • 30 • Abraham Lincoln daughter back in New Salem. He was even engaged to a woman named Mary Owens, though the couple never married.

Cute the office of President On March 4, 1861, Abraham of the United States, and will to the best of my abilLincoln took the oath of office of the ity, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of president of the United States. ’“ day, he stood on the steps of the halfbuilt Capitol building. Under the protection of cavalry, artillery, and riflemen, he delivered his inaugural address. In that speech, Lincoln pledged his devotion to the Union, promising that he would not start a war. He referred to the oath he had just taken to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution and the nation, 3 • 55 • Essential Lives and he appealed to the citizens to remain united, saying, In your hands, my dissatisfied countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war.

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