Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
recur to the scenes which took place all over the country in 1854 when that Nebraska bill passed. I could then travel from Boston to Chicago by the light of my own effigies, in consequence of having stood up for it. I leave it to you to say how I met that storm, and whether I quailed under it; whether I did not face the music, justify the principle, and pledge my life to carry it out.
A friend here reminds me, too, that when making speeches then, justifying the Nebraska bill and the great principle of self-government, that I predicted that in less than five years you would have to get out a search warrant to find an anti-Nebraska man. Well, I believe I did make that prediction. I did not claim the power of a prophet, but it occurred to me that among a free people, and an honest people, and an intelligent people, that five years was long enough for them to come to an understanding that the great principle of self-government was right, not only in the States, but in the Territories. I rejoiced this year to see my prediction, in that respect, carried out and fulfilled by the unanimous vote, in one form or another, of both Houses of Congress. If you will remember that pending this Lecompton controversy that gallant old Roman, Kentuckys favorite son, the worthy successor of the immortal ClayI allude, as you know, to the gallant John J. Crittendenbrought forward a bill, now known as the Crittenden-Montgomery bill, in which it was proposed that the Lecompton Constitution should be referred back to the people of Kansas, to be decided for or against it, at a fair election, and if a majority of the people were in favor of it, that Kansas should come into the Union as a slaveholding State, but that if a majority were against it, that they should make a new Constitution, and come in with slavery or without it, as they thought proper. [That was right.] Yes, my dear sir, it was not only right, but it was carrying out the principle of the Nebraska bill in its letter and in its spirit. Of course I voted for it, and so did every Republican Senator and Representative in Congress. I have found some Democrats so perfectly straight that they blame me for voting for the principle of the Nebraska bill because the Republicans voted the same way. [Great laughter. What did they say?]