Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 49
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 49
 
 
but few advocates in the future. The President of the United States, in his annual message, expressly recommends that the example of the Minnesota case, wherein Congress required the Constitution to be submitted to the vote of the people for ratification or rejection, shall be followed in all future cases; and all we have to do is to sustain as one man that recommendation, and the Kansas controversy can never again arise.  5
  My friends, I do not desire you to understand me as claiming for myself any special merit for the course I have pursued on this question. I simply did my duty,—a duty enjoined by fidelity, by honor, by patriotism; a duty which I could not have shrunk from, in my opinion, without dishonor and faithlessness to my constituency. Besides, I only did what it was in the power of any one man to do. There were others, men of eminent ability, men of wide reputation, renowned all over America, who led the van, and are entitled to the greatest share of the credit. Foremost among them all, as he was head and shoulders above them all, was Kentucky’s great and gallant statesman, John J. Crittenden. By his course upon this question he has shown himself a worthy successor of the immortal Clay, and well may Kentucky be proud of him. I will not withhold, either, the meed of praise due the Republican party in Congress for the course which they pursued. In the language of the New York Tribune, they came to the Douglas platform, abandoning their own, believing that under the peculiar circumstances they would in that mode best subserve the interests of the country. My friends, when I am battling for a great principle, I want aid and support from whatever quarter I can get it in order to carry out that principle. I never hesitate in my course when I find those who on all former occasions differed from me upon the principle finally coming to its support. Nor is it for me to inquire into the motives which animated the Republican members of Congress in supporting the Crittenden-Montgomery bill. It is enough for me that in that case they came square up and indorsed the great principle of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, which declared that Kansas should be received into the Union, with slavery or without, as its Constitution should prescribe. I was the more rejoiced at the action of the Republicans on that occasion for another reason. I could not forget, you will not soon
 

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