Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
is he to carry it out when he gets to the Senate? Does he intend to introduce a bill to abolish slavery in Kentucky? Does he intend to introduce a bill to interfere with slavery in Virginia? How is he to accomplish what he professes must be done in order to save the Union? Mr. Lincoln is a lawyer, sagacious and able enough to tell you how he proposes to do it. I ask Mr. Lincoln how it is that he proposes ultimately to bring about this uniformity in each and all of the States of the Union. There is but one possible mode which I can see, and perhaps Mr. Lincoln intends to pursue it; that is, to introduce a proposition into the Senate to change the Constitution of the United States, in order that all the State Legislatures may be abolished, State sovereignty blotted out, and the power conferred upon Congress to make local laws and establish the domestic institutions and police regulations uniformly throughout the United States. Are you prepared for such a change in the institutions of your country? Whenever you shall have blotted out the State sovereignties, abolished the State Legislatures, and consolidated all the power in the Federal Government, you will have established a consolidated Empire as destructive to the liberties of the people and the rights of the citizen as that of Austria, or Russia, or any other despotism that rests upon the necks of the people. How is it possible for Mr. Lincoln to carry out his cherished principle of abolishing slavery everywhere or establishing it everywhere, except by the mode which I have pointed outby an amendment to the Constitution to the effect that I have suggested? There is no other possible mode. Mr. Lincoln intends resorting to that, or else he means nothing by the great principle upon which he desires to be elected. My friends, I trust that we will be able to get him to define what he does mean by this Scriptural quotation that A house divided against itself cannot stand; that the Government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free; that it must be all one thing or all the other. Who among you expects to live, or have his children live, until slavery shall be established in Illinois or abolished in South Carolina? Who expects to see that occur during the lifetime of ourselves or our children?