ADVANTAGES

The Panic of 1837 led to a national reduction in the money supply. That led to further economic contraction and financial calamity for states like Illinois that had embarked on ambitious public works like the ones that State Representatives Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas promoted in the 1837 session of the state legislature. As promising young politicians, they became spokesmen on economic issues for their respective parties – with Lincoln attacking and Douglas defending the Van Buren administration. As a Van Buren appointee as federal land register in Springfield, Douglas was at the center of the land speculation that gripped the country in the mid-1830s. There was money to be made in the sale of federal lands. Democrats were in a position to pocket some of it for a favored few. Lincoln wanted most of it used for internal improvements that would benefit all.

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