When Lincoln prepared his first circular to be distributed among the voters of Sangamon County, Illinois, in the summer of 1832, he worked a plank on education into his political platform. The following excerpt shows his interest in the subject when he was only twenty-three.
|Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.|
"Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or sys· tern respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every man may receive at least a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance, even on this account only, to say nothing of the advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the Scriptures and other works both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves.
For my part, I desire to see the time when education─and by this, morality, sobriety, enterprise, and industry─shall become much more general than at present, and I should be gratified to have it in my power to contribute something to the advancement of any measure which might have a tendency to accelerate that happy period."
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.
 Lincoln's plank on education was a platform for the Republican Party in the 1860 presidential election. The plank called for universal education, meaning that all children, regardless of social class or race, should be able to attend school. The plank also called for establishing public schools, which would be funded by the government. Lincoln's plank on education was a radical idea at the time, as most children in the United States did not attend school. However, Lincoln believed education was essential for a democracy to function correctly. He argued that an educated citizenry would be better equipped to make informed decisions about government and to participate in civic life. The Republican Party's victory in the 1860 election helped to pave the way for establishing universal education in the United States. In the years following the Civil War, many states passed laws that established public schools and required children to attend school. Today, education is considered a fundamental right in the United States, and all children can attend school.