Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
Southern men for a period of years, ending at last in that shameful, though rather forcible declaration of Pettit of Indiana, upon the floor of the United States Senate, that the Declaration of Independence was in that respect a self-evident lie, rather than a self-evident truth. But I say, with a perfect knowledge of all this hawking at the Declaration without directly attacking it, that three years ago there never had lived a man who had ventured to assail it in the sneaking way of pretending to believe it, and then asserting it did not include the negro. I believe the first man who ever said it was Chief Justice Taney in the Dred Scott case, and the next to him was our friend Stephen. A. Douglas. And now it has become the catch-word of the entire party. I would like to call upon his friends everywhere to consider how they have come in so short a time to view this matter in a way so entirely different from their former belief; to ask whether they are not being borne along by an irresistible current,whither, they know not.
In answer to my proposition at Galesburgh last week, I see that some man in Chicago has got up a letter, addressed to the Chicago Times, to show, as he professes, that somebody had said so before; and he signs himself An Old-Line Whig, if I remember correctly. In the first place, I would say he was not an old-line Whig. I am somewhat acquainted with old-line Whigs. I was with the old-line Whigs from the origin to the end of that party; I became pretty well acquainted with them, and I know they always had some sense, whatever else you could ascribe to them. I know there never was one who had not more sense than to try to show by the evidence he produces that some man had, prior to the time I named, said that negroes were not included in the term all men in the Declaration of Independence. What is the evidence he produces? I will bring forward his evidence and let you see what he offers by way of showing that somebody more than three years ago had said negroes were not included in the Declaration. He brings forward part of a speech from Henry Clay,the part of the speech of Henry Clay which I used to bring forward to prove precisely the contrary. I guess we are surrounded to some extent to-day by the old friends of Mr. Clay, and they will be glad to hear anything from that authority. While he was in Indiana a man presented a petition