A stalwart Whig:
Lincoln’s career suffered with the [internal improvements] program he had strongly advocated. In August 1840, he was reelected to the legislature--- but narrowly, with the fewest votes of any successful candidate. His colleagues frankly acknowledged that he, along with other partisans for internal improvements, would not be a viable candidate for higher office. That same season, Lincoln lost the biggest political fight of his young career when William Henry Harrison, the Whig candidate for president, lost Illinois, despite Lincoln’s ferocious politicking. (Harrison did win the White House.) Before Lincoln returned to Springfield, he spent most of the year traveling, going over hard roads, eating lousy food, giving political speeches to mostly hostile crowds, and scrounging up legal work to pay his bills. “In short,” Douglas Wilson writes, “arriving in Springfield in November 1840, Lincoln must have been physically and emotionally exhausted.”
But he got no relief. Along with a stiff workload in the courts---in December, he had nine cases before the state supreme court alone---Lincoln had to serve as Whig floor leader for a special session of the legislature, which convened on November 23 to address the debt crisis. Lincoln put forward a bill---“with great diffidence,” he said---to borrow more money and raise new taxes in order to deal with the stupefying state debt. While he worked to put out one political fire, a new one erupted…
---from Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled HIs Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk.