In 1959, different wings of the Republican Party were at odds with each other, claiming some were not committed to traditional GOP values and were more concerned about victory than principles.
That year on February 14, U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen challenged those attending a Chicago dinner hosted by the United Republican Fund where he asked the wings to unify for the sake of the nation's future. Dirksen quoted another Illinois Republican - President Abraham Lincoln - and his words from a speech spoken 100 years before, on March 1, 1859:
"I am afraid of the result upon organized action where great results are on view if any of us allow ourselves to seek out minor or separate points on which there may be a difference of views as to policy and right, and let them keep us from uniting in action upon a great principle in a cause on which we all agree."
There's no doubt Everett Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln would exhort conservatives, Tea Partiers and Republicans today to unite with fervor around the "Great Principle" of 2012 - preserving our nation's endangered "right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness." Can Illinois Republicans agree on that in 2012?
Click on this replica of a 1959 Chicago Tribune story written by political reporter George Tagge -