Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 454
Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
Page 454
timber contracts,—they are not fit to decide these vastly important matters, which are national in their import,—but they are fit, “from the jump,” to decide this little negro question. But, gentlemen, the case is too plain; I occupy too much time on this head, and I pass on.  25
  Near the close of the copyright essay, the Judge, I think comes very near kicking his own fat into the fire. I did not think, when I commenced these remarks, that I would read from that article, but I now believe I will:—
          This exposition of the history of these measures, shows conclusively that the authors of the Compromise measures of 1850 and of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, as well as the members of the Continental Congress of 1774, and the founders of our system of Government subsequent to the Revolution, regarded the people of the Territories and Colonies as political communities which were entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their provisional legislatures, where their representation could alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity.
  When the Judge saw that putting in the word “slavery” would contradict his own history, he put in what he knew would pass as synonymous with it,—“internal polity.” Whenever we find that in one of his speeches, the substitute is used in this manner; and I can tell you the reason. It would be too bald a contradiction to say slavery; but “internal polity” is a general phrase, which would pass in some quarters, and which he hopes will pass with the reading community for the same thing.  27
  “This right pertains to the people collectively, as a law-abiding and peaceful community, and not in the isolated individuals who may wander upon the public domain in violation of the law. It can only be exercised where there are inhabitants sufficient to constitute a Government, and capable of performing its various functions and duties,—a fact to be ascertained and determined by”—who do you think? Judge Douglas says “By Congress!” “Whether the number shall be fixed at ten, fifteen or twenty thousand inhabitants, does not affect the principle.”  28
  Now, I have only a few comments to make. Popular Sovereignty, by his own words, does not pertain to the few persons who wander upon the public domain in violation of law. We have his words for that. When it does pertain to them, is when


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