Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 54
Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
Page 54
I owe them my gratitude for thus making up a direct issue between Mr. Lincoln and myself. I shall have no controversies of a personal character with Mr. Lincoln. I have known him well for a quarter of a century. I have known him, as you all know him, a kind-hearted, amiable gentleman, a right good fellow, a worthy citizen, of eminent ability as a lawyer, and I have no doubt, sufficient ability to make a good Senator. The question, then, for you to decide is, whether his principles are more in accordance with the genius of our free institutions, the peace and harmony of the Republic, than those which I advocate. He tells you, in his speech made at Springfield, before the Convention which gave him his unanimous nomination, that  12
  “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  13
  “I believe this Government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free.”  14
  “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I don’t expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.”  15
  “It will become all one thing or all the other.”  16
  That is the fundamental principle upon which he sets out in this campaign. Well, I do not suppose you will believe one word of it when you come to examine it carefully, and see its consequences. Although the Republic has existed from 1789 to this day, divided into Free States and Slave States, yet we are told that in the future it cannot endure unless they shall become all free or all slave. For that reason he says, as the gentleman in the crowd says, that they must be all free. He wishes to go to the Senate of the United States in order to carry out that line of public policy which will compel all the States in the South to become free. How is he going to do it? Has Congress any power over the subject of slavery in Kentucky, or Virginia, or any other State of this Union? How, then, is Mr. Lincoln going to carry out that principle which he says is essential to the existence of this Union, to-wit: That slavery must be abolished in all the States of the Union, or must be established in them all? You convince the South that they must either establish slavery in Illinois, and in every other Free State, or submit to its abolition in every Southern State, and you invite them to make a warfare upon the Northern States in order to establish slavery, for the sake of perpetuating it at home. Thus, Mr. Lincoln


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