Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
totally unsuited to the planting regions of the Carolinas, of Georgia, and of Louisiana. Each State is supposed to have interests separate and distinct from each and every other, and hence must have laws different from each and every other State, in order that its laws shall be adapted to the condition and necessities of the people. Hence I insist that our institutions rest on the theory that there shall be dissimilarity and variety in the local laws and institutions of the different States instead of all being uniform; and you find, my friends, that Mr. Lincoln and myself differ radically and totally on the fundamental principles of this Government. He goes for consolidation, for uniformity in our local institutions, for blotting out State rights and State sovereignty, and consolidating all the power in the Federal Government, for converting these thirty-two sovereign States into one Empire, and making uniformity throughout the length and breadth of the land. On the other hand, I go for maintaining the authority of the Federal Government within the limits marked out by the Constitution, and then for maintaining and preserving the sovereignty of each and all of the States of the Union, in order that each State may regulate and adopt its own local institutions in its own way, without interference from any power whatsoever. Thus you find there is a distinct issue of principlesprinciples irreconcilablebetween Mr. Lincoln and myself. He goes for consolidation and uniformity in our Government. I go for maintaining the confederation of the sovereign States under the Constitution, as our fathers made it, leaving each State at liberty to manage its own affairs and own internal institutions.
Mr. Lincoln makes another point upon me, and rests his whole case upon these two points. His last point is, that he will wage a warfare upon the Supreme Court of the United States because of the Dred Scott decision. He takes occasion, in his speech made before the Republican Convention, in my absence, to arraign me, not only for having expressed my acquiescence in that decision, but to charge me with being a conspirator with that court in devising that decision three years before Dred Scott ever thought of commencing a suit for his freedom. The object of his speech was to convey the idea to the people that the court could not be trusted, that the late President could not