Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
slaveholding States became free; it was under that principle that the number of Free States increased until, from being one out of twelve States, we have grown to be the majority of States of the whole Union, with the power to control the House of Representatives and Senate, and the power, consequently, to elect a President by Northern votes, without the aid of a Southern State. Having obtained this power under the operation of that great principle, are you now prepared to abandon the principle and declare that merely because we have the power you will wage a war against the Southern States and their institutions until you force them to abolish slavery everywhere?
After having pressed these arguments home on Mr. Lincoln for seven weeks, publishing a number of my speeches, we met at Ottawa in joint discussion, and he then began to crawfish a little, and let himself down. I there propounded certain questions to him. Amongst others, I asked him whether he would vote for the admission of any more Slave States, in the event the people wanted them. He would not answer. I then told him that if he did not answer the question there, I would renew it at Freeport, and would then trot him down into Egypt and again put it to him. Well, at Freeport, knowing that the next joint discussion took place in Egypt, and being in dread of it, he did answer my question in regard to no more Slave States in a mode which he hoped would be satisfactory to me, and accomplish the object he had in view. I will show you what his answer was. After saying that he was not pledged to the Republican doctrine of no more Slave States, he declared:
I state to you freely, frankly, that I should be exceedingly sorry to ever be put in the position of having to pass upon that question. I should be exceedingly glad to know that there never would be another Slave State admitted into this Union.
Here permit me to remark, that I do not think the people will ever force him into a position against his will. He went on to say:
But I must add, in regard to this, that if slavery shall be kept out of the Territory during the Territorial existence of any one given Territory, and then the people should, having a fair chance and a clear field, when they come to adopt a Constitution, if they should do the extraordinary thing of adopting a slave constitution