Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
its institutions in its own way. That was the principle upon which this Republic was founded, and it is under the operation of that principle that we have been able to preserve the Union thus far. Under its operations, slavery disappeared from New Hampshire, from Rhode Island, from Connecticut, from New York, from New Jersey, from Pennsylvania, from six of the twelve original slaveholding States; and this gradual system of emancipation went on quietly, peacefully and steadily, so long as we in the Free States minded our own business, and left our neighbors alone. But the moment the Abolition Societies were organized throughout the North, preaching a violent crusade against slavery in the Southern States, this combination necessarily caused a counter-combination in the South, and a sectional line was drawn which was a barrier to any further emancipation. Bear in mind that emancipation has not taken place in any one State since the Freesoil party was organized as a political party in this country. Emancipation went on gradually in State after State so long as the Free States were content with managing their own affairs and leaving the South perfectly free to do as they pleased; but the moment the North said, We are powerful enough to control you of the South, the moment the North proclaimed itself the determined master of the South, that moment the South combined to resist the attack, and thus sectional parties were formed and gradual emancipation ceased in all the Northern slaveholding States. And yet Mr. Lincoln, in view of these historical facts, proposes to keep up this sectional agitation, band all the Northern States together in one political party, elect a President by Northern votes alone, and then, of course, make a cabinet composed of Northern men, and administer the government by Northern men only, denying all the Southern States of this Union any participation in the administration of affairs whatsoever. I submit to you, my fellow-citizens, whether such a line of policy is consistent with the peace and harmony of the country? Can the Union endure under such a system of policy? He has taken his position in favor of sectional agitation and sectional warfare. I have taken mine in favor of securing peace, harmony and good-will among all the States, by permitting each to mind its own business, and discountenancing any attempt at interference on the part of one State with the domestic concerns of the others.