Atlanta, Illinois is a small town in central Illinois. It has never been the county seat for Logan County. Therefore, Abraham Lincoln did not travel to Atlanta on his circuit riding law practice. So where is Abe, what is the Atlanta connection to Lincoln, and why is there an Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area cancellation stamp at the Atlanta Public Library?
Downtown Atlanta, Illinois is a very short block; not a square or a plaza or a cluster of businesses. After passing it twice, I found Abraham Lincoln on a wayside exhibit in tiny bitty downtown Atlanta. Apparently Atlanta was the first city in the state of Illinois to establish a group of Wide Awakes. Wide Awakes were a political group that gave a voice to young adults. Wide Awakes chose Lincoln as their candidate for president of the United States and campaigned for his election by orchestrating parades, organizing rallies, and encouraging men, especially young men, to vote. (Women did not have the right to vote until 1920.) The Wide Awakes are recognized for their efforts in assisting the newly formed Republican Party in becoming a viable political party.
Although it is tenuous, there is a connection between Abraham Lincoln and Atlanta, Illinois. The Wide Awakes and their energetic, public campaign strategies were an important component to Lincoln being elected the 16th president of the United States.