Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
should be left perfectly free in the formation of their institutions, and in the organization of their Government. I now submit to you whether I have not in good faith redeemed that pledge, that the people of Kansas should be left perfectly free to form and regulate their institutions to suit themselves. And yet, while no man can arise in any crowd and deny that I have been faithful to my principles, and redeemed my pledge, we find those who are struggling to crush and defeat me, for the very reason that I have been faithful in carrying out those measures. We find the Republican leaders forming an alliance with professed Lecompton men to defeat every Democratic nominee and elect Republicans in their places, and aiding and defending them in order to help them break down Anti-Lecompton men, whom they acknowledge did right in their opposition to Lecompton. The only hope that Mr. Lincoln has of defeating me for the Senate rests in the fact, that I was faithful to my principles, and that he may be able in consequence of that fact to form a coalition with Lecompton men, who wish to defeat me for that fidelity.
This is one element of strength upon which he relies to accomplish his object. He hopes he can secure the few men claiming to be friends of the Lecompton Constitution, and for that reason you will find he does not say a word against the Lecompton Constitution or its supporters. He is as silent as the grave upon that subject. Behold Mr. Lincoln courting Lecompton votes, in order that he may go to the Senate as the representative of Republican principles! You know that the alliance exists. I think you will find that it will ooze out before the contest is over.
Every Republican paper takes ground with my Lecompton enemies, encouraging them, stimulating them in their opposition to me and styling my friends bolters from the Democratic party, and their Lecompton allies the true Democratic party of the country. If they think that they can mislead and deceive the people of Illinois, or the Democracy of Illinois, by that sort of an unnatural and unholy alliance, I think they show very little sagacity, or give the people very little credit for intelligence. It must be a contest of principle. Either the radical Abolition principles of Mr. Lincoln must be maintained, or the strong, constitutional,