Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
the Legislature had passed a pro-slavery code, establishing and sustaining slavery in Kansas, but that this pro-slavery Legislature did not truly represent the people, but was imposed upon them by an invasion from Missouri; and hence the Legislature was one way and the people another. Granting all this, and what has been the result? With laws supporting slavery, but the people against, there are not as many slaves in Kansas today as there were on the day the Nebraska bill passed and the Missouri Compromise was repealed. Why? Simply because slave owners knew that if they took their slaves into Kansas, where a majority of the people were opposed to slavery, that it would soon be abolished, and they would lose their right of property in consequence of taking them there. For that reason they would not take or keep them there. If there had been a majority of the people in favor of slavery and the climate had been favorable, they would have taken them there, but the climate not being suitable, the interest of the people being opposed to it, and a majority of them against it, the slave owner did not find it profitable to take his slaves there, and consequently there are not as many slaves there to-day as on the day the Missouri Compromise was repealed. This shows clearly that if the people do not want slavery they will keep it out, and if they do want it they will protect it.
You have a good illustration of this in the Territorial history of this State. You all remember that by the Ordinance of 1787, slavery was prohibited in Illinois; yet you all know, particularly you old settlers, who were here in territorial times, that the Territorial Legislature, in defiance of that Ordinance, passed a law allowing you to go into Kentucky, buy slaves and bring them into the Territory, having them sign indentures to serve you and your posterity ninety-nine years, and their posterity thereafter to do the same. This hereditary slavery was introduced in defiance of the Act of Congress. That was the exercise of popular sovereignty,the right of a Territory to decide the question for itself in defiance of the Act of Congress. On the other hand, if the people of a Territory are hostile to slavery they will drive it out. Consequently, this theoretical question raised upon the Dred Scott decision, is worthy of no consideration whatsoever, for it is only brought into these political discussions and