Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
not ventured to try to sustain his assertion. He never will. But he is desirous of knowing how we are going to reverse the Dred Scott decision. Judge Douglas ought to know how. Did not he and his political friends find a way to reverse the decision of that same court in favor of the constitutionality of the National Bank? Didnt they find a way to do it so effectually that they have reversed it as completely as any decision ever was reversed, so far as its practical operation is concerned? And let me ask you, didnt Judge Douglas find a way to reverse the decision of our Supreme Court, when it decided that Carlins fatherold Governor Carlinhad not the constitutional power to remove a Secretary of State? Did he not appeal to the MOBS, as he calls them? Did he not make speeches in the lobby to show how villainous that decision was, and how it ought to be overthrown? Did he not succeed, too, in getting an Act passed by the Legislature to have it overthrown? And didnt he himself sit down on that bench as one of the five added judges, who were to overslough the four old ones,getting his name of Judge in that way, and no other? If there is villainy in using disrespect or making opposition to Supreme Court decisions, I commend it to Judge Douglass earnest consideration. I know of no man in the State of Illinois who ought to know so well about how much villainy it takes to oppose a decision of the Supreme Court as our honorable friend, Stephen A. Douglas.
Judge Douglas also makes the declaration that I say the Democrats are bound by the Dred Scott decision, while the Republicans are not. In the sense in which he argues, I never said it; but I will tell you what I have said and what I do not hesitate to repeat to-day. I have said that as the Democrats believe that decision to be correct, and that the extension of slavery is affirmed in the National Constitution, they are bound to support it as such; and I will tell you here that General Jackson once said each man was bound to support the Constitution as he understood it. Now, Judge Douglas understands the Constitution according to the Dred Scott decision, and he is bound to support it as he understands it. I understand it another way, and therefore I am bound to support it in the way in which I understand it. And as Judge Douglas believes that decision to be correct, I will remake that argument if I have time to do so. Let