Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
bound to allow every other State to do the same. Maine allows the negro to vote on an equality with the white man. I do not quarrel with our friends in Maine for that. If they think it wise and proper in Maine to put the negro on an equality with the white man, and allow him to go to the polls and negative the vote of a white man, it is their business and not mine. On the other hand, New York permits a negro to vote, provided he owns $250 worth of property. New York thinks that a negro ought to be permitted to vote, provided he is rich, but not otherwise. They allow the aristocratic negro to vote there. I never saw the wisdom, the propriety or the justice of that decision on the part of New York, and yet it never occurred to me that I had a right to find fault with that State. It is her business; she is a sovereign State, and has a right to do as she pleases, and if she will take care of her own negroes, making such regulations concerning them as suit her, and let us alone, I will mind my business, and not interfere with her. In Kentucky they will not give a negro any political or any civil rights. I shall not argue the question whether Kentucky in so doing has decided right or wrong, wisely or unwisely. It is a question for Kentucky to decide for herself. I believe that the Kentuckians have consciences as well as ourselves; they have as keen a perception of their religious, moral and social duties as we have, and I am willing that they shall decide this slavery question for themselves, and be accountable to their God for their action. It is not for me to arraign them for what they do. I will not judge them lest I shall be judged. Let Kentucky mind her own business, and take care of her negroes, and we attend to our own affairs, and take care of our negroes, and we will be the best of friends; but if Kentucky attempts to interfere with us, or we with her, there will be strife, there will be discord, there will be relentless hatred, there will be everything but fraternal feeling and brotherly love. It is not necessary that you should enter Kentucky and interfere in that State, to use the language of Mr. Lincoln. It is just as offensive to interfere from this State, or send your missiles over there. I care not whether an enemy, if he is going to assault us, shall actually come into our State, or come along the line, and throw his bomb-shells over, to explode in our midst. Suppose England should plant a battery on the