Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 112
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 112
 
 
slaves, upon the ground that a negro cannot make a choice—that they had no legal power to choose—could not perform the condition upon which their freedom depended.  28
  I do not mention this with any purpose of criticising it, but to connect it with the arguments as affording additional evidence of the change of sentiment upon this question of slavery in the direction of making it perpetual and national. I argue now as I did before, that there is such a tendency; and I am backed, not merely by the facts, but by the open confession in the Slave States.  29
  And now as to the Judge’s inference that because I wish to see slavery placed in the course of ultimate extinction,—placed where our fathers originally placed it,—I wish to annihilate the State Legislatures—to force cotton to grow upon the tops of the Green Mountains, to freeze ice in Florida, to cut lumber on the broad Illinois prairies,—that I am in favor of all these ridiculous and impossible things.  30
  It seems to me it is a complete answer to all this to ask, if, when Congress did have the fashion of restricting slavery from free territory; when courts did have the fashion of deciding that taking a slave into a free country made him free,—I say it is a sufficient answer to ask, if any of this ridiculous nonsense about consolidation and uniformity did actually follow? Who heard of any such thing because of the Ordinance of ’87—because of the Missouri Restriction—because of the numerous court decisions of that character?  31
  Now, as to the Dred Scott decision; for upon that he makes his last point at me. He boldly takes ground in favor of that decision.  32
  This is one-half the onslaught, and one-third of the entire plan of the campaign. I am opposed to that decision in a certain sense, but not in the sense which he puts on it. I say that in so far as it decided in favor of Dred Scott’s master, and against Dred Scott and his family, I do not propose to disturb or resist the decision.  33
  I never have proposed to do any such thing. I think that in respect for judicial authority my humble history would not suffer in comparison with that of Judge Douglas. He would have the citizen conform his vote to that decision; the member of Congress,
 

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