Trenton, New Jersey - Inaugural Journey

Statehouse where Lincoln addressed the citizens of Trenton.

Trenton, New Jersey

February 21, 1861

At 8:00 a.m. the following morning, February 21, Lincoln's party traveled to Jersey City, New Jersey, across the Hudson River via the Cortland Street ferry. Lincoln then traveled on to Trenton where he spoke at the state house, first making remarks to the senate and then to the general assembly. In his remarks to the senate, Lincoln reflected on the Revolutionary War heritage of the area and what that history meant to him years ago as a young boy; what it meant to the nation in 1861; and, what it meant to the future.

In the early Revolutionary struggle, few of the States among the old Thirteen had more of the battle-fields of the country within their limits than old New-Jersey. May I be pardoned if, upon this occasion, I mention that away back in my childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got hold of a small book, such a one as few of the younger members have ever seen, ``Weem's Life of Washington.'' I remember all the accounts there given of the battle fields and struggles for the liberties of the country, and none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton, New-Jersey. The crossing of the river; the contest with the Hessians; the great hardships endured at that time, all fixed themselves on my memory more than any single revolutionary event; and you all know, for you have all been boys, how these early impressions last longer than any others. I recollect thinking then, boy even though I was, that there must have been something more than common that those men struggled for. I am exceedingly anxious that that thing which they struggled for; that something even more than National Independence; that something that held out a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to come . . . .

Local Community Contact: New Jersey Statehouse
125 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey
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Last updated: March 5, 2017

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