Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
that it was the design or intention of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or the framers of the Constitution to include negroes, Indians, or other inferior races, with white men, as citizens. Our fathers had at that day seen the evil consequences of conferring civil and political rights upon the Indian and negro in the Spanish and French colonies on the American continent and the adjacent islands. In Mexico, in Central America, in South America and in the West India Islands, where the Indian, the negro, and men of all colors and all races are put on an equality by law, the effect of political amalgamation can be seen. Ask any of those gallant young men in your own county, who went to Mexico to fight the battles of their country, in what friend Lincoln considers an unjust and unholy war, and hear what they will tell you in regard to the amalgamation of races in that country. Amalgamation there, first political, then social, has led to demoralization and degradation, until it has reduced that people below the point of capacity for self-government. Our fathers knew what the effect of it would be, and from the time they planted foot on the American continent, not only those who landed at Jamestown, but at Plymouth Rock and all other points on the coast, they pursued the policy of confining civil and political rights to the white race, and excluding the negro in all cases. Still Mr. Lincoln conscientiously believes that it is his duty to advocate negro citizenship. He wants to give the negro the privilege of citizenship. He quotes Scripture again, and says: As your Father in Heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect. And he applies that Scriptural quotation to all classes; not that he expects us all to be as perfect as our Master, but as nearly perfect as possible. In other words, he is willing to give the negro an equality under the law, in order that he may approach as near perfection, or an equality with the white man, as possible. To this same end he quotes the Declaration of Independence in these words: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and goes on to argue that the negro was included, or intended to be included in that Declaration by the signers of the paper. He says that by the Declaration of Independence, therefore, all kind of men, negroes included,