Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 47
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 47
 
 
that you did not like it; it is a matter of no consequence whether you in Illinois like any clause in the Kansas Constitution or not; it is not a question for you, but it is a question for the people of Kansas. They have the right to make a Constitution in accordance with their own wishes, and if you do not like it you are not bound to go there and live under it. We in Illinois have made a Constitution to suit ourselves, and we think we have a tolerably good one; but whether we have or not, it is nobody’s business but our own. If the people in Kentucky do not like it, they need not come here to live under it; if the people of Indiana are not satisfied with it, what matters it to us? We, and we alone, have the right to a voice in its adoption or rejection. Reasoning thus, my friends, my efforts were directed to the vindication of the great principle involving the right of the people of each State and each Territory to form and regulate their own domestic institutions to suit themselves, subject only to the Constitution of our common country. I am rejoiced to be enabled to say to you that we fought that battle until we forced the advocates of the Lecompton instrument to abandon the attempt of inflicting it upon the people of Kansas, without first giving them an opportunity of rejecting it. When we compelled them to abandon that effort, they resorted to a scheme. They agreed to refer the Constitution back to the people of Kansas, thus conceding the correctness of the principle for which I had contended, and granting all I had desired, provided the mode of that reference and the mode of submission to the people had been just, fair and equal. I did not consider the mode of submission provided, in what is known as the “English” bill, a fair submission, and for this simple reason, among others: It provided, in effect, that if the people of Kansas would accept the Lecompton Constitution, that they might come in with 35,000 inhabitants; but that, if they rejected it, in order that they might form a Constitution agreeable to their own feelings, and conformable to their own principles, that they should not be received into the Union until they had 93,420 inhabitants. In other words, it said to the people, if you will come into the Union as a slaveholding State, you shall be admitted with 35,000 inhabitants; but if you insist on being a Free State, you shall not be admitted until you have 93,420. I was not willing to discriminate between Free States and Slave
 

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