Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
as the fame of its great founders. It can be maintained by preserving the sovereignty of the States, the right of each State and each Territory to settle its domestic concerns for itself, and the duty of each to refrain from interfering with the other in any of its local or domestic institutions. Let that be done, and the Union will be perpetual; let that be done, and this Republic, which began with thirteen States, and which now numbers thirty-two, which, when it began, only extended from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, but now reaches to the Pacific, may yet expand, North and South, until it covers the whole continent, and becomes one vast ocean-bound confederacy. Then, my friends, the path of duty, of honor, of patriotism, is plain. There are a few simple principles to be preserved. Bear in mind the dividing line between State rights and Federal authority; let us maintain the great principles of popular sovereignty, of State rights, and of the Federal Union as the Constitution has made it, and this Republic will endure forever.
I thank you kindly for the patience with which you have listened to me. I fear I have wearied you. I have a heavy days work before me tomorrow. I have several speeches to make. My friends, in whose hands I am, are taxing me beyond human endurance; but I shall take the helm and control them hereafter. I am profoundly grateful to the people of McLean for the reception they have given me, and the kindness with which they have listened to me. I remember that when I first came among you here, twenty-five years ago, that I was prosecuting attorney in this district, and that my earliest efforts were made here, when my deficiencies were too apparent, I am afraid, to be concealed from any one. I remember the courtesy and kindness with which I was uniformly treated by you all, and whenever I can recognize the face of one of your old citizens, it is like meeting an old and cherished friend. I come among you with a heart filled with gratitude for past favors. I have been with you but little for the past few years on account of my official duties. I intend to visit you again before the campaign is over. I wish to speak to your whole people. I wish them to pass judgment upon the correctness of my course, and the soundness of the principles which I have proclaimed. If you do not approve my principles, I cannot ask your support.