After the Black Hawk War, Abraham Lincoln began his political career and was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1834 as a member of the Whig Party. He supported the Whig politics of government sponsored infrastructure and protective tariffs. This political understanding led him to formulate his early views on slavery, not so much as a moral wrong, but as an impediment to economic development. It was around this time that he decided to become a lawyer, teaching himself the law by reading William Blackstones Commentaries on the Laws of England. After being admitted to the bar in 1837, he moved to Springfield, Illinois and began to practice in the John T. Stuart law firm. It was soon after this that he purportedly met and became romantically involved with Anne Rutledge. Before they had a chance to be engaged, a wave of typhoid fever came over New Salem and Anne died at age 22. Her death was said to have left Lincoln severely depressed. However, several historians disagree on the extent of Lincolns relationship with Rutledge and his level of sorrow at her death may be more the makings of legend.
In 1844, Abraham Lincoln partnered with William Herndon in the practice of law. Though the two had different jurisprudent styles, they developed a close professional and personal relationship. Lincoln made a good living in his early years as a lawyer, but found that Springfield alone didnt offer enough work, so to supplement his income, he followed the court as it made its rounds on the circuit to the various county seats in Illinois.