Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 307
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 307
 
 
and come into the Union, that when introduced it contained a clause requiring the constitution to be submitted to the people, and that I struck out the words of that clause.  6
  Suppose it were true that there was such a clause in the bill, and that I struck it out, is that proof of a plot to force a constitution upon a people against their will? Bear in mind that from the days of George Washington to the Administration of Franklin Pierce, there had never been passed by Congress a bill requiring the submission of a constitution to the people. If Trumbull’s charge, that I struck out that clause, were true, it would only prove that I had reported the bill in the exact shape of every bill of like character that passed under Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, or any other President, to the time of the then present Administration. I ask you, would that be evidence of a design to force a constitution on a people against their will? If it were so, it would be evidence against Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Van Buren, and every other President.  7
  But, upon examination, it turns out that the Toombs bill never did contain a clause requiring the constitution to be submitted. Hence no such clause was ever stricken out, by me or anybody else. It is true, however, that the Toombs bill and its authors all took it for granted that the constitution would be submitted. There had never been, in the history of this Government, any attempt made to force a constitution upon an unwilling people, and nobody dreamed that any such attempt would be made, or deemed it necessary to provide for such a contingency. If such a clause was necessary in Mr. Trumbull’s opinion, why did he not offer an amendment to that effect?  8
  In order to give more pertinency to that question, I will read an extract from Trumbull’s speech in the Senate, on the Toombs bill, made on the 2nd of July, 1856. He said:—
          We are asked to amend this bill and make it perfect, and a liberal spirit seems to be manifested on the part of some senators to have a fair bill. It is difficult, I admit, to frame a bill that will give satisfaction to all, but to approach it, or come near it, I think two things must be done.
  9
  The first, then, he goes on to say, was the application of the Wilmot Proviso to the Territories, and the second the repeal
 

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