Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
for one of her institutions. If the Constitution that is presented be the act and deed of the people, and embodies their will, and they have the requisite population, I will admit them, with slavery or without it, just as that people shall determine. My objection to the Lecompton Constitution did not consist in the fact that it made Kansas a Slave State. I would have been as much opposed to its admission under such a Constitution as a Free State as I was opposed to its admission under it as a Slave State. I hold that that was a question which that people had a right to decide for themselves, and that no power on earth ought to have interfered with that decision. In my opinion, the Lecompton Constitution was not the act and deed of the people of Kansas, and did not embody their will; and the recent election in that Territory, at which it was voted down by nearly ten to one, shows conclusively that I was right in saying, when the Constitution was presented, that it was not the act and deed of the people, and did not embody their will.
If we wish to preserve our institutions in their purity, and transmit them unimpaired to our latest posterity, we must preserve with religious good faith that great principle of self-government which guarantees to each and every State, old and new, the right to make just such Constitutions as they desire, and come into the Union with their own Constitution, and not one palmed upon them. Whenever you sanction the doctrine that Congress may crowd a Constitution down the throats of an unwilling people, against their consent, you will subvert the great fundamental principle upon which all our free institutions rest. In the future I have no fear that the attempt will ever be made. President Buchanan declared in his annual message, that hereafter the rule adopted in the Minnesota case, requiring a Constitution to be submitted to the people, should be followed in all future cases; and if he stands by that recommendation there will be no division in the Democratic party on that principle in the future. Hence, the great mission of the Democracy is to unite the fraternal feeling of the whole country, restore peace and quiet, by teaching each State to mind its own business and regulate its own domestic affairs, and all to unite in carrying out the Constitution as our fathers made it, and thus to preserve the Union and render it perpetual in all time to come. Why should