Abraham Lincoln also "flew" once to block a vote
URBANA, Ill. (AP) -- Two Indiana House Democrats taking part in their party's boycott of Republican-backed proposals used some of their time in Illinois to dig into a story about Abraham Lincoln's 1840 jump from a window to block a vote on a bill he opposed.
The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reports that Democratic Reps. Win Moses of Fort Wayne and Matt Pierce of Bloomington drove Sunday from the Urbana, Ill., hotel where Democrats are staying during their boycott to Springfield, Ill.
There, researchers at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum told the lawmakers about Lincoln's dramatic exit from the Illinois statehouse as Democrats in charge of the Illinois House were trying to force the Illinois State Bank out of business.
Lincoln, at the time a member of the Whig Party, objected. And he and members of his party tried to leave the Illinois chambers to buy time.
The Capitol's doors were locked so lanky Lincoln jumped out a window to deny the Illinois House a quorum. Recounting the story Monday, Moses said Lincoln and the colleagues who followed him out the window were known for about a decade after as "flyers" -- not "fleers," as some have called
the Indiana Democrats who fled to Urbana to block action on GOP proposals they oppose by denying them a quorum.
Moses said Monday that he sees similarities in what drove the Indiana delegation across state lines and what drove Lincoln and three others out the window in 1840. Indiana Democrats fled to Illinois Feb. 22 to boycott proposals they consider an assault on labor unions and public schools.
Moses said he and Pierce found the visit a way to change the scenery from their Urbana hotel. "You just almost felt Lincoln's presence," he said.
Moses also made a quick trip to Indianapolis over the weekend to pick up necessities, while other House members returned to their hometowns, in many cases for the first time since the walkout began.
Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, said he was gratified by words of support during a trip to a favorite Fort Wayne restaurant, a visit with neighbors, and by encouraging messages left on his home phone.
His visit to Fort Wayne mostly involved housekeeping, laundry, and paying bills. But he, too, found a brief change of scenery refreshing. "It was really sort of a mind-clearing exercise," he said. "I've always thought about being on that show `Survivor.' Now I know I could at least do two weeks."