Presented By
Portrait of American President Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865), the sixteenth President of the United States, dressed in a suit and bow tie, April 9, 1865. Five days after this portrait was taken President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while attending a performance of 'Our American Cousin' at Ford's Theater.
Alexander Gardner/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton invoked the words of Abraham Lincoln on Wednesday, as she spoke at the Old State House in Springfield, Ill., where Lincoln delivered a historic speech about national division nearly 160 years ago.

Lincoln spoke on June 16, 1858, at the state Republican convention in Springfield after winning the party’s nomination for U.S. Senate, a race he would ultimately lose to Democrat Stephen Douglas.

“‘A house divided against itself cannot stand,'” Lincoln famously said, in the speech that would come to be known by that title. “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

The speech was controversial at the time, Clinton noted on Wednesday. “Some thought he ended up losing the Senate race because of that speech, but then he ended up winning the presidency—and some thought it was because of that speech,” she said, drawing a connection between the divisions facing the nation today and those that faced the nation, on a different scale, during Lincoln’s time.

Here is the full text from Lincoln’s historic speech:

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Katie Reilly at

You May Also Like