This month marks the 180th anniversary of Lincoln’s first political defeat. In 1832, at the age of twenty-three, he kicked off his career in politics with a run for the Illinois legislature. The election took place on August 6th. Out of thirteen candidates, Lincoln placed eighth. Only the top four (Edmund D. Taylor, Lincoln’s future senior law partner John T. Stuart, Achilles Morris, and Peter Cartwright) went to the legislature.
The young upstart failed to win office, but he was making a local name for himself; Lincoln received 277 out of 300 votes cast in his own precinct of New Salem. Two years later, he ran again, this time successfully.