Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
or South Carolina, or any other State, attempt to interfere in Illinois, and tell us that we shall establish slavery, in order to make it uniform, according to Mr. Lincolns proposition, throughout the Union; let them come here and tell us that we must and shall have slavery, and I will call on you to follow me, and shed the last drop of our hearts blood in repelling the invasion and chastising their insolence. And if we would fight for our reserved rights and sovereign power in our own limits, we must respect the sovereignty of each other State.
Hence, you find that Mr. Lincoln and myself come to a direct issue on this whole doctrine of slavery. He is going to wage a war against it everywhere, not only in Illinois, but in his native State of Kentucky. And why? Because he says that the Declaration of Independence contains this language: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and he asks whether that instrument does not declare that all men are created equal. Mr. Lincoln then goes on to say that that clause of the Declaration of Independence includes negroes. [I say not.] Well, if you say not, I do not think you will vote for Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln goes on to argue that the language all men included the negroes, Indians, and all inferior races.
In his Chicago speech he says, in so many words, that it includes the negroes, that they were endowed by the Almighty with the right of equality with the white man, and therefore that that right is divinea right under the higher law; that the law of God makes them equal to the white man, and therefore that the law of the white man cannot deprive them of that right. This is Mr. Lincolns argument. He is conscientious in his belief. I do not question his sincerity; I do not doubt that he, in his conscience, believes that the Almighty made the negro equal to the white man. He thinks that the negro is his brother. I do not think that the negro is any kin of mine at all. And here is the difference between us. I believe that the Declaration of Independence, in the words all men are created equal, was intended to allude only to the people of the United States, to men of European birth or descent, being white men; that they