Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 68
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 68
 
 
equal of the negro woman, that they are on a perfect equality, I suppose he admits the right of the negro woman to marry the white man. In other words, his doctrine that the negro, by divine law, is placed on a perfect equality with the white man, and that that equality is recognized by the Declaration of Independence, leads him necessarily to establish negro equality under the law; but whether even then they would be so in fact would depend upon the degree of virtue and intelligence they possessed, and certain other qualities that are matters of taste rather than of law. I do not understand Mr. Lincoln as saying that he expects to make them our equals socially, or by intelligence, nor in fact as citizens, but that he wishes to make them our equals under the law, and then say to them, “as your Master in Heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect.”  24
  Well, I confess to you, my fellow-citizens, that I am utterly opposed to that system of Abolition philosophy. I do not believe that the signers of the Declaration of Independence had any reference to negroes when they used the expression that all men were created equal, or that they had any reference to the Chinese or coolies, the Indians, the Japanese, or any other inferior race. They were speaking of the white race, the European race on this continent, and their descendants, and emigrants who should come here. They were speaking only of the white race, and never dreamed that their language would be construed to include the negro. And now for the evidence of that fact. At the time the Declaration of Independence was put forth, declaring the equality of all men, every one of the thirteen colonies was a slaveholding. colony, and every man who signed that Declaration represented a slaveholding constituency. Did they intend, when they put their signatures to that instrument, to declare that their own slaves were on an equality with them; that they were made their equals by divine law, and that any human law reducing them to an inferior position, was void, as being in violation of divine law? Was that the meaning of the signers of the Declaration of Independence? Did Jefferson, and Henry, and Lee—did any of the signers of that instrument, or all of them, on the day they signed it, given their slaves freedom? History records that they did not. Did they go further, and put the negro on an equality with the white man throughout the country? They
 

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