Rise of the Rail Splitter


Appeal to Illinois Supreme court in case Thomas Watkins v. John White. Logan and Lincoln. Springfield, Illinois, December 1842.


Appeal in the case of Hugh K. Cooper v. Israel W. Crosby and Silas W. Robbins. Lincoln and Herndon. Springfield, Illinois, December 1846.

Lincoln did not want to be a farmer like his father.  In his early twenties, he considered both politics and the law as fields in which he could make a living.  At first he thought his lack of formal education might be a deterrent to entering the legal profession, but the encouragement of a lawyer friend, John Todd Stuart (1807-1885), convinced Lincoln to undertake a regimen of personal study by reading the standard legal textbooks of the time. Lincoln received a license to practice in September 1836, a time when law schools were scare and state bar exams did not exist.  From 1837 until he assumed the presidency in 1861, Lincoln practiced law in partnership with Stuart, Stephen T. Logan (1800-1880), and William Henry Herndon.  Despite his informal legal training, Lincoln was a successful lawyer and was particularly accomplished in persuading juries. The first of these two documents dates from his partnership with Logan and the second from his partnership with Herndon.

Lincoln Collection  Abraham Lincoln, Miscellaneous Papers (72) (76)    The William Whiting Nolen Collection of Lincolniana.