Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
forget, how unanimous that party was, in 1854, in declaring that never should another Slave State be admitted into this Union under any circumstances whatever; and yet we find that during this last winter they came up and voted to a man declaring that Kansas should come in as a State with slavery under the Lecompton Constitution, if her people desired it, and that if they did not that they might form a new Constitution, with slavery or without, just as they pleased. I do not question the motive when men do a good act; I give them credit for the act; and if they will stand by that principle in the future, and abandon their heresy of no more Slave States even if the people want them, I will then give them still more credit. I am afraid, though, that they will not stand by it in the future. If they do, I will freely forgive them all the abuse they heaped upon me in 1854, for having advocated and carried out that same principle in the Kansas-Nebraska bill.
Illinois stands proudly forward as a State which early took her position in favor of the principle of popular sovereignty as applied to the Territories of the United States. When the Compromise measure of 1850 passed, predicated upon that principle, you recollect the excitement which prevailed throughout the northern portion of this State. I vindicated those measures then, and defended myself for having voted for them, upon the ground that they embodied the principle that every people ought to have the privilege of forming and regulating their own institutions to suit themselves; that each State had that right, and I saw no reason why it should not be extended to the Territories. When the people of Illinois had an opportunity of passing judgment upon those measures, they indorsed them by a vote of their representatives in the Legislaturesixty-one in the affirmative and only four in the negativein which they asserted that the principle embodied in the measures was the birthright of freemen, the gift of Heaven, a principle vindicated by our Revolutionary fathers, and that no limitation should ever be placed upon it, either in the organization of a Territorial Government, or the admission of a State into the Union. That resolution still stands unrepealed on the journals of the Legislature of Illinois. In obedience to it, and in exact conformity with the principle, I brought in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, requiring that the people