Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 64
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 64
 
 
that majority got possession of the ballot-boxes, and a fair election was held, that moment slavery would be abolished and he would lose them. For that reason, such owners as took their slaves there brought them back to Missouri, fearing that if they remained they would be emancipated. Thus you see that under the principle of popular sovereignty, slavery has been kept out of Kansas, notwithstanding the fact that for the first three years they had a Legislature in that Territory favorable to it. I tell you, my friends, it is impossible under our institutions to force slavery on an unwilling people. If this principle of popular sovereignty asserted in the Nebraska bill be fairly carried out, by letting the people decide the question for themselves, by a fair vote, at a fair election, and with honest returns, slavery will never exist one day, or one hour, in any Territory against the unfriendly legislation of an unfriendly people. I care not how the Dred Scott decision may have settled the abstract question so far as the practical result is concerned; for, to use the language of an eminent Southern Senator, on this very question:
          I do not care a fig which way the decision shall be, for it is of no particular consequence; slavery cannot exist a day or an hour, in any Territory or State, unless it has affirmative laws sustaining and supporting it, furnishing police regulations and remedies, and an omission to furnish them would be as fatal as a constitutional prohibition. Without affirmative legislation in its favor, slavery could not exist any longer than a new-born infant could survive under the heat of the sun, on a barren rock, without protection. It would wilt and die for the want of support.
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  Hence, if the people of a Territory want slavery, they will encourage it by passing affirmatory laws, and the necessary police regulations, patrol laws and slave code; if they do not want it they will withhold that legislation, and by withholding it slavery is as dead as if it was prohibited by a constitutional prohibition, especially if, in addition, their legislation is unfriendly, as it would be if they were opposed to it. They could pass such local laws and police regulations as would drive slavery out in one day, or one hour, if they were opposed to it, and therefore, so far as the question of slavery in the Territories is concerned, so far as the principle of popular sovereignty is concerned, in its practical operation, it matters not how the Dred Scott case may
 

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