161 years ago on February 27th, 1860
Abraham Lincoln gives a speech at Cooper Union that became a watershed moment in his political life and led to his nomination three months later
It was one of Lincoln's longest speeches and served to outline his political platform and was printed in newspapers and widely circulated, but is not often quoted.
The event also served to introduce Lincoln to a nationwide audience, with many seeing him in person for the first time. In the New York Herald, he was described as tall, thin man with an "involuntary comical awkwardness" and a voice that was sharp and powerful, but also "has a frequent tendency to dwindle into a shrill and unpleasant sound".
Read the full speech from the U.S. National Park Service.