Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 93
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 93
 
 
used as a hobby upon which to ride into office, or out of which to manufacture political capital.  22
  But Mr. Lincoln’s main objection to the Dred Scott decision I have reserved for my conclusion. His principal objection to that decision is that it was intended to deprive the negro of the rights of citizenship in the different States of the Union. Well, suppose it was—and there is no doubt that that was its legal effect—what is his objection to it? Why, he thinks that a negro ought to be permitted to have the rights of citizenship. He is in favor of negro citizenship, and opposed to the Dred Scott decision, because it declares that a negro is not a citizen, and hence is not entitled to vote. Here I have a direct issue with Mr. Lincoln. I am not in favor of negro citizenship. I do not believe that a negro is a citizen or ought to be a citizen. I believe that this Government of ours was founded, and wisely founded, upon the white basis. It was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity, to be executed and managed by white men. I freely concede that humanity requires us to extend all the protection, all the privileges, all the immunities, to the Indian and the negro which they are capable of enjoying consistent with the safety of society. You may then ask me what are those rights, what is the nature and extent of the rights which a negro ought to have? My answer is that this is a question for each State and each Territory to decide for itself. In Illinois we have decided that a negro is not a slave, but we have at the same time determined that he is not a citizen and shall not enjoy any political rights. I concur in the wisdom of that policy and am content with it. I assert that the sovereignty of Illinois had a right to determine that question as we have decided it, and I deny that any other State has a right to interfere with us or call us to account for that decision. In the State of Maine they have decided by their Constitution that the negro shall exercise the elective franchise and hold office on an equality with the white man. Whilst I do not concur in the good sense or correct taste of that decision on the part of Maine, I have no disposition to quarrel with her. It is her business and not ours. If the people of Maine desire to be put on an equality with the negro, I do not know that anybody in this State will attempt to prevent it. If the white people of Maine think a
 

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