• Inside the Lincoln Sitting Room

    Lincoln Home

    National Historic Site Illinois

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  • Lincoln Home Tours During Busy Season

    Please be advised that tours of the Lincoln home fill rapidly during our busy summer season. We suggest that you visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Visitor Center early in the day for your best opportunity to receive a tour of the Lincoln home.

Secession is Unlawful

First Inaugural Address March 4, 1861

I hold that, in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the union of these States is perpetual....It follows....that no State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and that acts of violence, within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances. I, therefore, consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken.

First Inaugural Address March 4, 1861

We find the proposition that, in legal contemplation, the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And, finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was "to form a more perfect Union."

Message to Congress in Special Session July 4, 1861

The States have their status in the Union, and they have no other legal status. If they break from this they can only do so against law and by revolution.

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Did You Know?

Election Flag, 1864

Lincoln insisted on having the 1864 election in the midst of war. "You can not have free government without elections...if the rebellion could force us to forgo a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us." Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois