by Scott Johnson
Today is of course the anniversary of the birth of America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom at the exact moment when the country was on the threshold of abandoning what he called its “ancient faith” that all men are created equal.
In 1858 Lincoln attained national prominence in the Republican Party as the result of the contest for the Senate seat held by Stephen Douglas. It was Lincoln’s losing campaign against Douglas that made him a figure of sufficient prominence that he could be the party’s 1860 presidential nominee.