Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 28
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 28
 
 
before I leave it, state, for the benefit of those concerned, that one of those same Buchanan men did once tell me of an argument that he made for his opposition to Judge Douglas. He said that a friend of our Senator Douglas had been talking to him, and had among other things said to him: “Why, you don’t want to beat Douglas?” “Yes,” said he, “I do want to beat him, and I will tell you why. I believe his original Nebraska bill was right in the abstract, but was wrong in the time that it was brought forward. It was wrong in the application to a Territory in regard to which the question had been settled; it was brought forward at a time when nobody asked him; it was tendered to the South when the South had not asked for it, but when they could not well refuse it; and for this same reason he forced that question upon our party. It has sunk the best men all over the nation, everywhere; and now when our President, struggling with the difficulties of this man’s getting up, has reached the very hardest point to turn in the case, he deserts him, and I am for putting him where he will trouble us no more.”  6
  Now, gentlemen, that is not my argument—that is not my argument at all. I have only been stating to you the argument of a Buchanan man. You will judge if there is any force in it.  7
  Popular sovereignty! everlasting popular sovereignty! Let us for a moment inquire into this vast matter of popular sovereignty. What is popular sovereignty? We recollect that at an early period in the history of this struggle there was another name for the same thing—“Squatter Sovereignty.” It was not exactly Popular Sovereignty, but Squatter Sovereignty. What do those terms mean? What do those terms mean when used now? And vast credit is taken by our friend the Judge, in regard to his support of it, when he declares the last years of his life have been, and all the future years of his life shall be, devoted to this matter of popular sovereignty. What is it? Why, it is the sovereignty of the people! What was Squatter Sovereignty? I suppose if it had any significance at all it was the right of the people to govern themselves, to be sovereign in their own affairs while they were squatted down in a country not their own, while they had squatted on a Territory that did not belong to them, in the sense that a State belongs to the
 

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