Tag Archives: Niagara Falls

Lincoln at Niagara Falls

In the autumn of 1848, Abraham Lincoln campaigned for Whig presidential candidate Zachary Taylor in Massachusetts.  On the way home to Illinois, he visited Niagara Falls, and found the sight so impressive that he started writing about it. His unfinished meditation on the falls probably dates from the end of September:

It calls up the indefinite past. When Columbus first sought this continent—when Christ suffered on the cross—when Moses led Israel through the Red-Sea—nay, even, when Adam first came from the hand of his Maker—then as now, Niagara was roaring here. The eyes of that species of extinct giants, whose bones fill the mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara, as ours do now. Co[n]temporary with the whole race of men, and older than the first man, Niagara is strong, and fresh to-day as ten thousand years ago. The Mammoth and Mastadon—now so long dead, that fragments of their monstrous bones, alone testify, that they ever lived, have gazed on Niagara.

Drawing of Niagara Falls by George Wallis, 1853. Library of Congress

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