The Rail Splitter Fights For and Wins the Republican Nomination (1859-1860) Pursuing the Republican Nomination (1859-1860) Lincoln's speeches were being published and widely circulated, as he began to practice law again as a means of income. When John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry occurred, Democrats cited this as an example of slave-agitation caused by the Republicans. Lincoln also began to address the southern threat of succession, deeming it an act of treason. In 1860, leading Republicans sought to boost Lincoln's candidacy, as many saw him as the more-electable of the candidates. Of all of the speeches in his political career, the ones that seemed the most difficult for Lincoln were his New York speeches as they made him feel uncomfortable and out of place. During this time, Lincoln acquired the moniker rail-splitter which stemmed from a casual comment he made. Lincoln seemed to have a good chance of winning the election, despite his opponent, William Henry Seward. One major hurdle Lincoln faced was that he was seen as radical compared to Seward. Also, Seward supporters ranged from the sophisticated to the brash, and often made Lincoln feel inferior. But Seward was racked with mistakes of his political past in New York which included fiscal impropriety. A major victory for Lincoln at this point is Indiana, a victory that slows Seward's momentum. Lincoln ultimately beats Seward for the Republican nomination.