Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
carrying out the same principle that I have this winter, with all the energy and all the power I may be able to command. I have the gratification of saying to you that I do not believe that that controversy will ever arise again; firstly, because the fate of Lecompton is a warning to the people of every Territory and of every State to be cautious how the example is repeated; and secondly, because the President of the United States, in his annual message, has said that he trusts the example in the Minnesota case, wherein Congress passed a law, called an Enabling Act, requiring the Constitution to be submitted to the people for acceptance or rejection, will be followed in all future cases. [That was right.] I agree with you that it was right. I said so on the day after the message was delivered, in my speech in the Senate on the Lecompton Constitution, and I have frequently in the debate tendered to the President and his friends, tendered to the Lecomptonites, my voluntary pledge that if he will stand by that recommendation, and they will stand by it, that they will find me working hand in hand with them in the effort to carry it out. All we have to do, therefore, is to adhere firmly in the future, as we have done in the past, to the principle contained in the recommendation of the President in his annual message, that the example in the Minnesota case shall be carried out in all future cases of the admission of Territories into the Union as States. Let that be done and the principle of popular sovereignty will be maintained in all of its vigor and all of its integrity. I rejoice to know that Illinois stands prominently and proudly forward among the States which first took their position firmly and immovably upon this principle of popular sovereignty, applied to the Territories as well as to the States. You all recollect when in 1850 the peace of the country was disturbed in consequence of the agitation of the slavery question, and the effort to force the Wilmot Proviso upon all the Territories, that it required all the talent and all the energy, all the wisdom, all the patriotism, of a Clay and a Webster, united with other great party leaders, to devise a system of measures by which peace and harmony could be restored to our distracted country. Those compromise measures eventually passed and were recorded on the statute book, not only as the settlement of the then existing difficulties, but as furnishing a rule of action