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The Lincoln-Douglas
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Lincoln-Douglas Debates

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The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

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7

Abraham Lincoln

From a Photograph taken in

THE
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

INTRODUCTION

Stump Speaking— As the American people pushed
their way across the continent from the Atlantic to the
Pacific, the thin edge of advancing civilization was
known as the * ‘frontier.” It was made up of coura-
geous spirits who subdued the Indians, drove the French
and Spanish from their pathway, slew the wild beasts,
felled the forests, built their log cabins, and planted
their fields. Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett belonged
to these hardy people. Cut off from the comforts and
privileges which they had enjoyed before migrating to
“the West,” these people resorted to various make-
shifts to supply their needs. They used Indian moc-
casins on their feet, and coonskin caps on their heads.
Lacking newspapers, they learned the issues of the
political campaigns by assembling to hear the candi-
dates who, in turn, mounted the stump of a felled tree
in the streets of the frontier town and from that forum
addressed the voters. A good “stump speaker” could
always attract a crowd, and a wit combat between two
speakers representing opposite parties was a real holi-
day of sport. It is true that the jokes and counter-
strokes were often feeble attempts, and sometimes not

6 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

very far removed from vulgarity; but the stronger the
blows the better they were liked, and the more per-
sonal, the more enjoyable they were.

The spirit of democracy was strong in these pioneers
and made them intensely interested in politics. Their
fondness for hearing political speeches, their attend-
ance upon political meetings, their parades, floats,
banners, and bands remained even after the first frontier
stage of progress had passed and the country was well
settled. In Illinois, stump speaking was popular as
late as 1858, although the frontier had passed on into
Kansas and Nebraska, just ready for statehood.

Political Parties — The slavery question was always
a festering thorn in the side of the body politic, fre-
quently poulticed by compromises, but manifesting it-
self whenever a new national issue arose. The Aboli-
tionists, headed by William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell
Phillips, and others, opposed all compromises and stood
for the unconditional and immediate emancipation of
the slaves. They were bitterly condemned by both the
Whig and Democrat parties as wild and dangerous re-
formers, who were likely to bring about a dissolution
of the Union through their agitation. Each party
denied any sympathy for or connection with the
Abolitionists.

The contention of the Abolitionists that slavery was
wrong ethically, made little progress until it became
an economic and political matter through the proposed
statehood for Kansas and Nebraska. The prairies were
not fitted climatically for cotton raising, which made
slaveholding profitable; but if two new States came in

INTRODUCTION 7

free, as they must do under the Compromise of 1820/
they would add four free Senators and many free Con-
gressmen to the Northern strength, thereby further
curbing the slaveholding power in national affairs.

The demand of the South for an adjustment led, in
1854, to the substitution for the Missouri Compromise
of 1820 of a new remedy (the Kansas-Nebraska meas-
ure) which, by permitting the people of the proposed
states to determine whether they would be free or
slave, was thought to be the very essence of democ-
racy or home rule. As usual, in temporizing with the
evil the remedy became worse than the disease.

The Republican Party — This setting aside of the
Missouri Compromise for * ‘squatter sovereignty’*
banded together Northern Whigs and Northern Demo-
crats on an anti-slavery platform; and they speedily
formed a new party, calling themselves Republicans.
In 1856 the new party had a candidate for the presi-
dency, Fremont, and parties were now known politi-
cally as Democrats, Old Line Whigs, and Republicans.
The first two refused to recognize the Republican
movement as more than a conspiracy or corrupt bargain
between leaders to break up the old parties and bring
themselves into political power. In the debates it will
be noticed that Douglas assails the corrupt bargain be-
tween Lincoln, an Old Line Whig, and Trumbull, a
Democrat, both of whom deserted the old parties to
join the new Republican party.

1. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 provided that Missouri should come into
the Union as a slave State, but that thereafter in the territory acquired by
the Louisiana Purchase, slavery should be forever prohibited north of lati-
tude 36° 30′, which was the line of the southern boundary of Missouri.

8 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

The Little Giant — Stephen A. Douglas, a Senator
from Illinois and a Northern Democrat, was chairman
of the Senate Committee on Territories. As such he
pushed the Kansas-Nebraska bill of 1854 through both
Houses, and incurred the criticism of the free soil ad-
vocates of both parties in the North. He said later that
he could have traveled from Washington to his home
in Chicago, when Congress adjourned, by the light
of himself being burned in effigy. For three hours in
his home town he tried in vain to get his constituents
to listen to his explanations.

Douglas was born in Vermont, migrated to Illinois,
and had advanced rapidly through the offices of pros-
ecuting attorney. State legislator. Registrar of Public
Lands, candidate for Congress, State Supreme Court
Judge, Congressman for two terms, and linally, in 1845,
member of the United States Senate. He had served
two terms in the Senate, and in 1858 was a candidate
for a third election by the State legislature. He had
a most winning personality, a fearless spirit, a quick
temper, and an unlimited energy of physical force and
will power. He was short and heavy in figure, but
possessed a far-reaching voice, and early acquired the
nickname of *The Little Giant.” In stump speaking
he was considered the champion of the Middle West.

Honest Old Abe — Among those who watched with
interest the course of The Little Giant was Abraham
Lincoln, a member of the Whig party, who wrote to a
friend in 1854 that Douglas’s action miglit have created
an opening for a Whig Senator from Illinois, and **if
so, I want the chance of being that man;” but it v;as

INTRODUCTION 9

thought best to nominate Lyman Trumbull. Four
years later Lincoln had the opportunity.

Lincoln started even lower in life than Douglas, and
progressed more slowly. He lacked Douglas’s personal
magnetism and suffered still more by comparison of
appearance. He was tall, ungainly, and careless in his
dress. He was also hampered all his life by poverty.
On the other hand, he possessed more natural shrewd-
ness than Douglas, and always kept his temper, even
under the flings of Douglas. His habits of life were
extremely temperate and formed a marked contrast to
other men in public life at that time.

Lincoln and Douglas knew each other at the State
Capital, and in the Courts where both practiced law.
Lincoln had taken little part in politics except to serve
a term in Congress, 1847-9. He was a candidate for
the Senate in 1854, as has been said, but withdrew in fa-
vor of Trumbull. Small wonder that many thought him
presumptuous in aspiring to the United States Senate
in 1858, and especially when that meant to oppose the
great Douglas. The task seemed doubly hard because
Lincoln was the candidate of a new party, the Republi-
can or *’ Black Republican,” as the Democrats dubbed
it because of its espousal of the rights of the negro.

Political Conditions — It was customary at that time
to hold nominating conventions some months before
elections. The State Legislatures elected the United
States Senators, and so the choice of members of the
Legislature in senatorial election years was a matter of
vital importance. Illinois had always been Democratic,
and Douglas felt no apprehension in the senatorial

10 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

election of 1857 except so far as the Kansas-Nebraska
turmoil should disturb normal conditions. Late in 1857
some of the residents of the Territory of Kansas had
formed, at Lecompton, a pro-slavery constitution for
the proposed State. President Buchanan favored the
adoption of the “Lecompton Constitution,” but Doug-
las opposed it on the ground that it was not a fair test
of the theory of “squatter sovereignty;” all the people
of the Territory had not taken part. The Democratic
party in Illinois was therefore in a divided condition,
and there might besomeshiftingto the new Republican
party if it came out with a strong Free-Soil platform.
The fears of the Democratic party leaders were realized,
April 21, 1858, when the Democratic State Committee
met at Springfield and nominated Douglas on an anti-
Lecompton platform, which caused a number of the dele-
gates to “bolt” the convention, and, six weeks later,
to hold another convention and nominate another ticket.
Consequently, it was with high hopes that the new
Republican party met in convention at Springfield in
June, and resolved that Abraham Lincoln was the first
and only choice of the Republicans of Illinois for the
United States Senate as the successor of Stephen A.
Douglas. The speech which Lincoln had prepared for
the convention he read from manuscript, a thing which
he rarely did, and he also carefully read the proof in
the printing ofRce before the speech was published.
He was stating the principles of the new party and, as
it chanced, of a new era in American politics. Douglas
would make every use of the platform, and Lincoln must
be careful to see that it was so plain that its statements
co^ld not be twisted or misconstrued bythe wily debater.
^ The two strong factors in the campaign were the sit-

INTRODUCTION 11

uation in the Kansas-Nebraska territory, and a recent
decision by the Supreme Court of the United States.
This held in the case of Dred Scott/ a fugitive slave, that
no negro slave or his descendant can ever be a citizen of
a State, that neither Congress nor a State Legislature
can exclude slavery from a State or Territory, and that
the decision whether a slave can be held in a free State
depends upon the. courts of that State. Douglas saw
how inconsistent this decision was with his squatter sov-
ereignty theory, and was driven to say that he * ‘cared
not whether slavery was voted up or voted down,” pro-
vided the people had a fair vote on the question. Lin-
coln in his speech at the Republican nominating con-
vention seized the opportunity to point out where the
development of events had put Douglas. * *His friends, ‘ ‘
he said, “remind us that he is a great man and that
the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be
granted. But *a living dog is better than a dead lion.’
Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion, for this work is at
least a caged and toothless one.”

In opening the speech, Lincoln used a paraphrase of
Mark 3:25 which was prophetic and destined to be-
come immortal, although Douglas later declared it se-
ditious. Lincoln said:

**A/r. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:
If we could know where we are, and whither we are
tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to

1. Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri, a slave State ; his owner took him in
1834 to Illinois, a free State ; then, in 1834, to Minnesota, a free Territory.
Later his owner took him back to Missouri, when he sued for his freedom, on
the ground that he had resided, for a while at least, on free soil. His owner
claimed that having been born of slave parentage and never having been set
free, he was still a slave, notwithstanding his places of temporary residence.
In 1857 the Supreme Court of the United States decided in favor of the owner.

12 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a pol-
icy was initiated with the avowed object and confident
, promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Un-
t^ der the operation of that policy, that agitation has not
I only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my
) opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been
i reached and passed. *A house divided against itself
) cannot stand.’ I believe this government cannot en-
dure permanently half slave and half free. I do not
, expect the Union to be dissolved; I’ do not expect the
; house to fall; butldo expect it will cease to be di-
* vi ded. ^ It will be come all one thing or all the other.
Either’ the opponents~of slavery will arrest the further
spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall
rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate
extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it
shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well
as new, North as well as South.”

Such was the condition of affairs at the opening of
the campaign between Douglas and Lincoln for the
senatorship of Illinois in 1858.

The Challenge — Douglas at once gave out a list of
his speaking appointments for July, and closing on
August 21 at Ottawa. The Republicans also prepared
a list of Republican meetings at which Lincoln was
scheduled to speak, in some cases coinciding with the
Democratic dates and in others following a day later.
At the meetings the crowd sometimes called upon Lin-
coln to reply to Douglas and the Democratic papers
complained that Lincoln was showing bad taste in fol-
lowing Douglas about and taking advantage of his large
audiences. Douglas devoted a larger part of his time
to Trumbull, his co-senator from Illinois, whom he ac-
cused of making a compact with Lincoln to dissolve
both the old Whig and old Democratic parties and

INTRODUCTION 18

to unite with the Abolitionists in forming the new
* ‘Black” Republican party. Trumbull, in turn, charged
Douglas with making a corrupt bargain in favoring
the repeal of the Missouri Compromise measure.

It appeared as if the campaign would resolve itself
into a contest between Douglas and Trumbull, while
Lincoln, who was the actual candidate for Douglas’s
place, would be lost sight of. Consequently, after con-
sulting his friends, Lincoln wrote to Douglas, July 24,
1858, inquiring whether it would be agreeable **to di-
vide time and address the same audiences in the pres-
ent canvass.” Douglas replied the same day that his
schedule had been made out, that the Democratic can-
didates for other offices on the State ticket must be
given a hearing at his meetings; but that he would
arrange seven extra meetings at which he would dis-
cuss the issues of the day with Lincoln. He further
named the places, one in each of the seven Congres-
sional districts of the State, omitting the Springfield
and Chicago districts, in which both had already spoken
through Lincoln’s ‘*follow-up” method.

Lincoln accepted the seven places and the following
letters closed the arrangements:

Bement, Piatt Co., 111., July 30, 1858
Dear Sir: —

Your letter dated yesterday, accepting my proposition
for a joint discussion at one prominent point in each Con-
gressional District, as stated in my previous letter, was
received this morning.

The times and places designated are as follows:

Ottawa, LaSalle County – – – August 21, 1858.

Freeport, Stephenson County – – ” 27, “

14 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

Jonesboro, Union County – – September 15,
Charleston, Coles County – – ” 18,

Galesburg, Knox County – – – October 7,

Quincy, Adams County ” 13,

Alton, Madison County ” 15,

I agree to your suggestion that we shall alternately
open and close the discussion. I will speak at Ottawa for
one hour, you can reply, occupying an hour and a half, and
I will then follow for half an hour. At Freeport you shall
open the discussion and speak for one hour. We will alter-
nate in like manner in each successive place.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. A. Douglas
Hon. A. Lincoln, Springfield, 111.

Springfield, July 31, 1858.
Hon. S. A. Douglas.
Dear Sir:

Yours of yesterday, naming places, times, and terms,
for joint discussions between us, was received this morning.
Although, by the terms, as you propose, you take /oi(r open-
ings and closings, to my three, I accede, and thus close the
arrangement. I direct this to you at Hillsboro and shall
try to have both your letter and this appear in the Journal
and Register of Monday morning.

Your obedient servant,
A. Lincoln.

The newspapers of the State approved of this ar-
rangement to *’let the people judge for themselves who
shall be their choice after a fair hearing of them both
in person” and to “submit the whole case to such pop-
ular jurors, called together by the joint efforts of the
two parties.” The Douglas papers made flings at the
egotism and the presumption of the upstart to try to
thrust himself upon the public by using the crowds
which would come to hear The Little Giant.

INTRODUCTION 15

The Course of the Debates — The series began
August 21 and closed October 15, covering a period of
nearly eight weeks. Douglas began immediately an
attack on the new Republican party, of which his op-
ponent was one of the founders, and claimed that a bar-
gain had been made between his former fellow Demo-
crat, Judge Trumbull, and Abraham Lincoln, to unite
with the Abolitionists in a sectional revolt against slav-
ery; a course which would endanger the Union. He
used Lincoln’s “house divided against itself” as proof
of this disloyalty. Lincoln denied the charge of Abo-
litionism and stated in simple language his opinion of
the rights of the negro; and then opened up the record
of Douglas on the territorial extension of slavery and
the Dred Scott case.

It was customary for a debater to ask his opponent
a series of questions intended to compromise him or to
put him in an embarrassing position. Douglas did this
in the very first debate, hoping to set a trap for Lin-
coln; but in the second debate Lincoln answered these
questions and then countered with four sequential
questions which some historians think caught Douglas
in his own trap.

This second (Freeport) debate is considered the most
important of the series. The second question of Lin-
coln, as to the right of a people of a Territory to ex-
clude slavery before becoming a State, made Douglas
reaffirm what he had said **a hundred times from every
stump in Illinois.” He had to choose between an
affirmative answer, which would please Northern Dem-
ocrats and gain him the Senatorship, but bar all hopes
of the presidency through alienating the South; or re-

16 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

turning a negative answer, which would cost him his
Northern favor and the Senatorship. Also, an affirma-
tive reply would be wholly at variance with the Dred
Scott decision. Neverthless he answered affirmatively.

It is Gaid that Lincoln saw the result of the affirma-
tive reply which Douglas would probably give and
which would cost Lincoln the senatorship, but that he
looked forward to the presidential election of 1860, and
in his homely vernacular said, **I am after larger
game.” Admirers of Douglas doubt this story, and
deny that Lincoln drove Douglas into a corner, because
Douglas had on several prior occasions declared that
the people of a Territory can, by lawful means, exclude
slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a
State Constitution.

In the next debate Douglas reiterated his “bargain”
claim, and expressed his unconcern whether slavery was
* ‘voted up or voted down” in a Territorial legislature.
This involved the idea that matters should go on as
they had been, but Lincoln showed that Douglas by his
own action had made this impossible. Lincoln also ex-
ploded Douglas’ theory of squatter sovereignty by say-
ing that it simply amounted to this: “That if any one
man choose to enslave another, no third man shall be
allowed to object.” The compact with Trumbull and
many items of local Illinois politics were frequently
tossed back and forth between the two. These are
omitted from this volume because they had no bearing
on the national situation.

At Jonesboro, Douglas took a fling at negroes ming-
ling with whites, and insinuated that Lincoln and the
Republicans were in favor of the equality of the two

INTRODUCTION 17

races. To this Lincoln said tlie final word at Charleston
in regard to the possibility of a white man marrying
a colored woman.

There were several passages at arms between the de-
baters, and some crude banter which would scarcely be
considered in good taste at present. The least justifi-
able was D.ouglas reviving the old falsehood that while
in Congress in 1847 Lincoln had voted against sending
supplies to our troops fighting in Mexico. Lincoln
was manifestly aroused to anger, as his reply shows.
But he was even more angered when Douglas poked
fun at him about his powers of physical endurance,
suggesting that Lincoln was so exhausted at Ottawa
that he had to be carried from the platform, when in
truth he had been carried away, despite his protests,
on the shoulders of his enthusiastic followers.

Douglas frequently lost his temper when interrupted,
as he was at Freeport by his hearers who took excep-
tion to his constant use of the term “Black” Rebpuli-
can. To his complaint that no Democrat had been vul-
gar and blackguard enough to interrupt Lincoln while
he had the platform, Lincoln replied that while he was
speaking he has used no vulgarity or blackguardism
toward the Democrats in the crowd.

The Results of the Debates — Extracts from the
debates were printed in the leading newspapers from
New York to St. Louis. Douglas’s ”Freeport doctrine^’
was strongly denounced by the Southern people. It made
him impossible to them as a candidate for the presi-
dency in 1860 and this caused a split in the Democratic
party and the election of Lincoln. Lincoln lost the sen-

18 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

atorship, as his friends had predicted.-^ He borrowed
enough money to pay all obligations incurred during
the campaign, and expressed himself as satisfied be-
cause he had *’got a hearing/’ Only two debates have
come down by name in American history: one is the
Hayne-Webster and the other is the Lincoln- Douglas.
The former established the standing of the Constitution ;
the latter paved the way for the thirteenth, fourteenth,
and fifteenth amendments.

1. Lincoln received a majority of 4,085 in the popular vote. In spite of this,
the arrangement of the Legislative districts, together with hold-over
Senators, was such that the Democrats secured 14 seats in the Senate to 11
for the Republicans, and 40 in the House to 35 Republicans.

FIRST JOINT DEBATE 19

FIRST JOINT DEBATE

Ottawa, August 21, 1858

MR. DOUGLAS’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen : I appear before you to-day
for the purpose of discussing the leading political topics
which now agitate the public mind. By an arrange-
ment between Mr. Lincoln and myself, we are present
here to-day for the purpose of having a joint discus-
sion, as the representatives of the two great political
parties of the State and Union, upon the principles in
issue between those parties; and this vast concourse of
people shows the deep feeling which pervades the pub-
lic mind in regard to the questions dividing us.

Prior to 1854 this country was divided into two
great political parties, known as the Whig^ and Dem-
ocratic parties. Both were national and patriotic, ad-
vocating principles that were universal in their ap-
plication. .. . The Whig party and the Democratic
party jointly adopted the compromise measures of
1850^ as the basis of a proper and just solution of this
slavery question in all its forms.

1. The Whig party arose about 1825, although the name was not used until
some years later. Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster
were the great leaders. The Democratic party came into existence about
the same time, under Andrew Jackson’s leadership.

2. The Compromise of 1850 involved the admission of California, the organi-
zation of New Mexico and Utah as territories, to be free or slave States as
their inhabitants might decide (squatter sovereignty), the payment of a
money indemnity to Texas, a more rigid Fugitive Slave law, and the abolition
of the slave trade, but not of slavery, in the District of Columbia.

20 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

Up to 1853-54, the Whig party and the Democratic
party both stood on the same platform with regard to
the slavery question. That platform was the right of
the people of each State and each Territory to decide
their local and domestic institutions for themselves,
subject only to the Federal Constitution.

During the session of Congress of 1853-54, I intro-
duced into the Senate of the United States a bill to
organize the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska on that
principle which had been adopted in the Compromise
measures of 1850. … I put forth the true intent and
meaning of the Act in these words: **It is the true
intent and meaning of this Act not to legislate slavery
into any State or Territory, or to exclude it there-
from, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to
form and regulate their domestic institutions in their
own way, subject only to the Federal Constitution.”
Thus, you see, that up to 1854, when the Kansas and
Nebraska bill was brought into Congress for the pur-
pose of carrying out the principles which both parties
had up to that time indorsed and approved, there had
been no division in this country in regard to that prin-
ciple except the opposition of the Abolitionists!. . . .

In 1854, Mr. Abraham Lincoln and Mr. Trumbull^
entered into an arrangement, one with the other, and
each with his respective friends, to dissolve the old
Whig party on the one hand, and to dissolve the old

1. The Abolitionists wished to free all slaves by an amendment to the Con-
stitution, without compensation to the owners.

2. Lyman Trumbull, lawyer, was born in Connecticut in 1813. settled in
Illinois, and became Secretary of State of Illinois in 1841, Justice of the State
Supreme Court in 1848, and U. S. Senator in 1855. He was a Democrat, but
joined the new Republican party in 1855.

I

FIRST JOINT DEBATE 21

Democratic party on the other, and to connect the mem-
bers of both into an Abolition party, under the name
and disguise of a Republican party. . . . Lincoln went
to work to Abolitionize the old Whig party all over the
State, pretending that he was then as good a Whig as
ever; and Trumbull went to work in his part of the
State preaching Abolitionism in its milder and lighter
form, and trying to Abolitionize the Democratic party,
and bring old Democrats handcuffed and bound hand
and foot into the Abolition camp. In pursuance of the
arrangement, the parties met at Springfield in October,
1854, and proclaimed their new platform …. I have the
resolutions of their State Convention then held, which
was the first mass State Convention ever held in Illinois
by the Black Republican party, and I now hold them in
my hands and will read a part of them, and cause the
others to be printed. Here are the most important and
material resolutions of this Abolition platform: —

1. Resolved, That we believe this truth to be self-evi-
dent, that when parties become subversive of the ends for
which they are established, or incapable of restoring the
Government to the true principles of the Constitution, it is
the right and duty of the people to dissolve the political
bands by which they may have been connected therewith,
and to organize new parties upon such principles and with
such views as the circumstances and exigencies of the na-
tion may demand.

2. Resolved, That the times imperatively demand the re-
organization of parties, and, repudiating all previous party
attachments, names, and predilections, we unite ourselves
together in defense of the liberty and Constitution of the
country, and will hereafter cooperate as the Republican
party, pledged to the accomplishment of the following pur-
poses; To bring the administration of the Government back

22 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

to the control of first principles; to restore Nebraska and
Kansas to the position of free Territories; that, as the Con-
stitution of the United States vests in the States, and not
in Congress, the power to legislate for the extradition of
fugitives from labor, to repeal and entirely abrogate the
Fugitive Slave Law; ^ to restrict slavery to those States in
which it exists; to prohibit the admission of any more Slave
States into the Union; to abolish slavery in the District of
Columbia; to exclude slavery from all the Territories over
which the General Government has exclusive jurisdiction ;
and to resist the acquirement of any more Territories unless
the practice of slavery therein forever shall have been pro-
hibited.

3. Resolved, That in furtherance of these principles we
will use such Constitutional and lawful means as shall seem
best adapted to their accomplishment, and that we will sup-
port no man for office, under the General or State Govern-
ment, who is not positively and fully committed to the sup-
port of these principles, and whose personal character and
conduct is not a guarantee that he is reliable, and who shall
not have abjured old party allegiance and ties.^

Now, gentlemen, your Black Republicans have cheered
every one of those propositions, and yet I venture to
say that you cannot get Mr. Lincoln to come out and
say that he is now in favor of each one of them. That
these propositions, one and all, constitute the platform
of the Black Republican party of this day, 1 have no
doubt; and when you were not aware for what pur-
pose I was reading them, your Black Republicans cheered
them as good Black Republican doctrines. My object
in reading these resolutions was to put the question to

1. The Fugitive Slave law was part of the Compromise of 1850. It placed
the duty of returning runaway slaves in the hands of United States Marshals
instead of State officers.

2. These resolutions, as it later was understood, were adopted at a local
convention, preceding the first regular Republican convention by two years.
See note on page 28,

FIRST JOINT DEBATE 23

Abraham Lincoln this day, whether he now stands and
will stand by each article in that creed and carry it
out. I desire to know whether Mr. Lincoln to-day
stands, as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional
repeal of the Fugitive Slave law. I desire him to an-
swer whether he stands pledged to-day, as he did in
1854, against the admission of any more Slave States
into the Union, even if the people want them. I want
to know whether he stands pledged against the admis-
sion of a new State into the Union with such a Consti-
tution as the people of that State may see fit to make.
I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged to the
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. I de-
sire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the
prohibition of the slave trade between the different
States. I desire to know whether he stands pledged to
prohibit slavery in all the Territories of the United
States, north as well as south of the Missouri Com-
promise line. I desire him to answer whether he is
opposed to the acquisition of any more territory, un-
less slavery is prohibited therein. . . .

I ask Abraham Lincoln to answer these questions, in
order that, when I trot him down to lower Egypt, ^ I
may put the same questions to him…. In the re-
marks I have made on this platform, and the position
of Mr. Lincoln upon it, I mean nothing personally
disrespectful or unkind to that gentleman. I have
known him for nearly twenty-five years. There were
many points of sympathy between us when we first got
acquainted. We were both comparatively boys, and

1. The lower part of Illinois was known as “Egypt.” Some say it was’ so
called because the people lived in darkness.

24 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

both struggling with poverty in a strange land. 1 was
a school-teacher in the town of “Winchester, and he a
flourishing grocery keeper in the town of Salem. He
was more successful in his occupation than I was in
mine, and hence more fortunate in this world’s goods.
Lincoln is one of those peculiar men who perform with
admirable skill everything which they undertake. I
made as good a school-teacher as 1 could, and when a
cabinet-maker I made a good bedstead and tables, al-
though my old boss said I succeeded better with bu-
reaus and secretaries than with anything else; but I
believe that Lincoln was always more successful’ in
business than I, for his business enabled him to get
into the Legislature. I met him there, however,, and
had a sympathy with him, because of the up-hill strug-
gle we both had in life. He was then just as good at
telling an anecdote as now. He could beat any of the
boys wrestling, or running a foot-race, in pitching
quoits or tossing a copper; could ruin more liquor
than all of the boys of the town together; and the dig-
nity and impartiality with which he presided at a
horse-race or fist-fight excited the admiration and won
the praise of everybody that was present and partici-
pated. I sympathized with him because he was strug-
gling with difficulties, and so was L . . .

Having formed this new party for the oenefit of de-
serters from Whiggery, and deserters from Democracy,
and having laid down the Abolition platform which I
have read, Lincoln now takes his stand and proclaims
his Abolition doctrines. Let me read a part of them.
In his speech at Springfield to the Convention which
nominated him for the Senate, he said: —

FIRST JOINT DEBATE’ 25

*’In my opinion it will not cease until a crisis shall
have been reached and passed. ‘A house divided against
itself cannot stand.’ I believe this government can-
not endure permanently half slave and half free. I do
not expect the Union to be dissolved,— I do not expect
the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be
divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.
Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further
spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall
rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate
extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it
shall become alike lawful in all the States,— old as
well as new, North as well as South.”
[“Good,” “Good,” and cheers.]
I am delighted to hear you Black Republicans say
“good.” I have no doubt that doctrine expresses your
sentiments, and I will prove to you now, if you will
listen to me, that it is revolutionary and destructive

of the existence of this Government 1 assert that

uniformity in the local laws and institutions of the dif-
ferent States is neither possible nor desirable. If uni-
formity had been adopted when the Government was
established, it must inevitably have been the uniformity
of slavery everywhere, or else the uniformity of negro
citizenship and negro equality everywhere.

We are told by Lincoln that he is utterly opposed to
the Dred Scott decision, or will not submit to it, for
the reason that he says it deprives the negro of the
rights and privileges of citizenship. That is the first
and main reason which he assigns for his warfare on
the Supreme Court of the United States and its de-
cision. I ask you, are you in favor of conferring upon

26 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

the negro the rights and privileges of citizenship? Do
you desire to strike out of our State Constitution that
clause which keeps slaves and free negroes out of the
State, and allow the free negroes to flow in, and cover
your prairies with black settlements? Do you desire
to turn this beautiful State into a free negro colony,
in order that when Missouri abolishes slavery she can
send one hundred thousand emancipated slaves into
Illinois, to become citizens and voters, on an equality
with yourselves? If you desire negro citizenship, if
you desire to allow them to come into the State and
settle with the white man, if you desire them to vote
on an equality with yourselves, and to make them eligi-
ble to office, to serve on juries, and to adjudge your
rights, then support Mr. Lincoln and the Black Repub-
lican party, who are in favor of the citizenship of the
negro. For one, I am opposed to negro citizenship in
any and every form. I believe this Government was
made on the white basis. I believe it was made by
white men, for the benefit of white men and their pos-
terity forever, and I am in favor of confining citizen-
ship to white men, men of European birth and descent,
instead of conferring it upon negroes, Indians, and
other inferior races. . . .

The question then arises. What rights and privileges
are consistent with the public good? This is a ques-
tion which each State and each Territory must decide
for itself; Illinois has decided it for herself. We have
provided that the negro shall not be a slave, and we
have also provided that he shall not be a citizen, but
protect him in his civil rights, in his life, his person,
and his property, only depriving him of all political

FIRST JOINT DEBATE 27

rights whatsoever, and refusing to put him on an
equality with the white man. . . . But the Republi-
cans say that he ought to be made a citizen, and when
he becomes a citizen he becomes your equal, with all
your rights and privileges. They assert the Dred Scott
decision to be monstrous, because it denies that the
negro is or can be a citizen under the Constitution. . . .
Our fathers intended that our Constitutions should
differ. They knew that the North and the South,
having different climates, productions, and interests,
required different institutions. This doctrine of Mr.
Lincoln, of uniformity among the institutions of the
different States, is a new doctrine, never dreamed of
by Washington, Madison, or the framers of this Gov-
ernment. Mr. Lincoln and the Republican party set
themselves up as wiser than these men who made this
Government, which has flourished for seventy years
under the principle of popular sovereignty, recognizing
the right of each State to do as it pleased …. I be-
lieve that this new doctrine preached by Mr. Lincoln
and his party will dissolve the Union if it succeeds.
They are trying to array all the Northern States in one
body against the South, to excite a sectional war be-
tween the Free States and the Slave States, in order
that the one or the other may be driven to the wall.

MR. LINCOLN’S REPLY

My Fellow Citizens : When a man hears himself some-
what misrepresented, it provokes him, — at least, I find
it so with myself; but when misrepresentation becomes
very gross and palpable, it is more apt to amuse him.

28 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

The first thing I see lit to notice is the fact that Judge
Douglas alleges, after running through the history of
the old Democratic and the old Whig parties, that Judge
Trumbull and myself made an arrangement in 1854, by
which I was to have the place of General Shields^ in the
United States Senate, and Judge Trumbull was to have
the place of Judge Douglas. Now, all I have to say
upon, that subject is, that I think no man — not even
Judge Douglas — can prove it, because it is not true.
I have no doubt he is * ‘conscientious” in saying it.
As to those resolutions that he took such a length of
time to read, as being the platform of the Republican
party in 1854, I say I never had anything to do with
them, and I think Trumbull never had. Judge Douglas
cannot show that either of us ever did have anything
to do with them. …”

Now, gentlemen, I hate to waste my time on such
things; but in regard to that general Abolition tilt that
Judge Douglas makes, when he says that I was engaged
at that time in selling out and Abolitionizing the old
Whig party, I hope you will permit me to read a part
of a printed speech that I made then at Peoria, which
will show altogether a different view of the position I
took in that contest of 1854.

[‘Tut on your specs.”]

Yes, sir, I am obliged to do so; I am no longer a
young man. . . .

When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible

1. Gen. James Shields was U. S. Senator from Illinois, 1848-1854,

2. Lincoln next explained that he was not in the Convention in 1854 which
adopted these resolutions, although his name was signed as one of the com-
mittee, without consent. At the time he was attending court in Tazewell
County and was not even in Springfield where the Convention was held.

FIRST JOINT DEBATE 29

for the origin of slavery than we, I acknowledge the fact.
When it is said that the institution exists, and that it is
very difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can
understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not
blame them for not doing what I should not know how
to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should
not know what to do, as to the existing institution. My
first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them
to Liberia — to their own native land. But a moment’s re-
flection would convince me that whatever of high hope (as
I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its
sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed
there in a day they would all perish in the next ten days;
and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money
enough in the world to carry them there in many times ten
days. What then? Free them all, and keep them among
us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their
condition? 1 think I would not hold one in slavery, at any
rate; yet the point is not clear enough to me to denounce
people upon. What next? Free them, and make them po-
litically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not
admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those
of the great mass of white people will not. Whether this
feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the
sole question, if indeed, it is any part of it. A universal
feeling, whether well or ill-founded, cannot be safely dis-
regarded. We cannot, then, make them equals. It does
seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be
adopted; but for their tardiness in this, I will not undertake

to judge our brethren of the South

But all this, to my judgment, furnishes no more excuse
for permitting slavery to go into our own free territory than
it would for reviving the African slave trade by law. The
law which forbids the bringing of slaves from Africa, and
that which has so long forbid the taking of them to Ne-
braska, can hardly be distinguished on any moral principle;
and the repeal of the former could find quite as plausible
excuses as that of the latter.

30 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

I have reason to know that Judge Douglas knows that
I said this. I think he has the answer here to one of
the questions he put to me. I do not mean to allow
him to catechise me unless he pays back for it in kind.
I will not answer questions one after another, unless he
reciprocates; but as he has made this inquiry, and I
have answered it before, he has got it without my get-
ting anything in return. He has got my answer on the
Fugitive Slave law.

Now, gentlemen, I don’t want to read at any greater
length; but this is the true complexion of all I have
ever said in regard to the institution of slavery and the
black race. This is the whole of it; and anything that
argues me into his idea of perfect social and political
equality with the negro is but a specious and fantastic
arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a
horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse. I will say here,
while upon this- subject, that I have no purpose, directly
or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slav-
ery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no
lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.
I have no purpose to introduce political and social equal-
ity between the white and the black races. There is a
physical difference between the two which, in my judg-
ment, will probably forever forbid their living together
upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch
as it becomes a necessity there must be a difference, I,
as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to
which I belong having the superior position. I have
never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that,
notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world
why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights

FIRST JOINT DEBATE 31

enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, — the
right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I
hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white
man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal
in many respects, — certainly not in color, perhaps not
in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to
eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which
his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of
Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man

What is Popular Sovereignty?^ Is it the right of the
people to have slavery or not have it, as they see fit,
in the Territories? I will state — and I have an able
man to watch me — my understanding is that Popular
Sovereignty, as now applied to the question of slavery,
does allow the people of a Territory to have slavery if
they want to, but does not allow them not to have it
if they do not want it. I do not mean that if this vast
concourse of people were in a Territory of the United
States, any one of them would be obliged to have a
slave if he did not want one; but I do say that, as I
understand the Dred Scott decision, if any one man
wants slaves, all the rest have no way of keeping that
one man from holding them. . . .

Can it be true that placing this institution upon the
original basis — the basis upon which our fathers placed
it — can have any tendency to set the Northern and the
Southern States at war with one another, or that it can
have any tendency to make the people of Vermont raise
sugar-cane, because they raise it in Louisiana, or that

1. The theory that the citizens of a territory should decide at the time of
forming a state constitution whether they would be free or slave was known
as “popular sovereignty,” or “squatter sovereignty”; that is, home rule for
the settlers.

32 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

it can compel the people of Illinois to cut pine logs on
the Grand Prairie/ where they will not grow, because
they cut pine logs in Maine, where they do grow? ….

Henry Clay,^ my beau ideal of a statesman, the man
for whom I fought all my humble life, — Henry Clay
once said of a class of men who would repress all ten-
dencies to liberty and ultimate emancipation, that they
must, if they would do this, go back to the era of our
Independence, and muzzle the cannon which thunders
its annual joyous return; they must blow out the moral
lights around us; they must penetrate the human soul,
and eradicate there the love of liberty; and then, and
not till then, could they perpetuate slavery in this coun-
try! To my thinking. Judge Douglas is, by his ex-
ample and vast influence, doing that very thing in this
community, when he says that the’negro has nothing in
the Declaration of Independence. Henry Clay plainly
understood the contrary. Judge Douglas is going back
to the era of our Revolution, and, to the extent of his
ability, muzzling the cannon which thunders its an-
nual joyous return. When he invites any people, will-
ing to have slavery, to establish it, he is blowing out
the moral lights around us. When he says he **cares
not whether slavery is voted down or voted up,” —
that it is a sacred right of self-government — he is, in
my judgment, penetrating the human soul and eradi-
cating the light of reason and the love of liberty in this
American people. And now I will only say that when,

1. A large prairie tract in central Illinois was known as the “Grand Prairie.”

2. Henry Clay, of Kentucky, (1777-1852) advocated a protective tariff, a free
interpretation of the Constitution, and development of means of internal
transportation. These were Whig principles, and he was the idol of the party.

FIRST JOINT DEBATE 33

by all these means and appliances, Judge Douglas shall
succeed in bringing public sentiment to an exact ac-
cordance with his own views; when these vast assem-
blages shall echo back all these sentiments; when they
shall come to repeat his views, and to avow his prin-
ciples, and to say all that he says on these mighty ques-
tions, — then it needs only the formality of the second
Dred Scott decision, which he indorses in advance, to
make slavery alike lawful in all the States — old as well
as new, North as well as South.

My friends, that ends the chapter. The judge can
take his half -hour.

MR. DOUGLAS’S REPLY

Fellow Citizens : I will now occupy the half-hour al-
lotted to me in replying to Mr. Lincoln. . . .

This denial^ of his that he did not act on the commit-
tee, is a miserable quibble to avoid the main issue,
which is, that this Republican platform declares in
favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave
law. Has Lincoln answered whether he indorsed that
or not? I called his attention to it when I first ad-
dressed you, and asked him for an answer, and I then
predicted that he would not answer. How does he
answer? Why, that he was not on the committee that
wrote the resolutions. I then repeated the next prop-
osition contained in the resolutions, which was to re-
strict slavery in those States in which it exists, and
asked him whether he indorsed it. Does he answer

1. Referring to the denial made by Lincoln that he was in the Springfield
“Abolition” convention of 1854.

34 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

yes, or no? He says in reply, “I was not on the com-
mittee at the time; I was up in Tazewell.”

The next question I put to him was, whether he was
in favor of prohibiting the admission of any more Slave
States into the Union. I put the question to him dis-
tinctly, whether, if the people of the Territory, when
they had sufficient population to make a State, should
form their Constitution recognizing slavery, he would
vote for or against its admission. He is a candidate
for the United States Senate, and it is possible, if he
should be elected, that he would have to vote directly
on that question. I asked him to answer me and you,
whether he would vote to admit a State into the Union,
with slavery or without it, as its own people might
choose. He did not answer that question. He dodges
that question also, under the cover that he was not on
the Committee at the time; that he was not present
when the platform was made. I want to know if he
should happen to be in the Senate when a State applied
for admission, with a Constitution acceptable to her
own people, would he vote to admit that State, if slav-
ery was one of its institutions. He avoids the answer.

It is true he gives the Abolitionists to understand by
a hint that he would not vote to admit such a State.
And why? He goes on to say that the man who would
talk about giving each State the right to have slavery
or not, as it pleased, was akin to the man who would
muzzle the guns which thundered forth the annual joyous
return of the day of our Independence. He says that
that kind of talk is casting a blight on the glory of this
country. What is the meaning of that? That he is
not in favor of each State to have the right of doing

FIRST JOINT DEBATE 35

as it pleases on the slavery question? I will put the
question to him again and again, and I intend to force
it out of him. . . .

Now you see that upon these very points I am as far
from bringing Mr. Lincoln up to the line as I ever was
before. He does not want to avow his principles. I
do want to avow mine, as clear as sunlight in midday.
Democracy is founded upon the eternal principles of
right. The plainer these principles are avowed before
the people, the stronger will be the support which they
will receive. I only wish I had the power to make
them so clear that they would shine in the heavens for
every man, woman, and child to read. The first of
these principles that I would proclaim would be in op-
position to Mr. Lincoln’s doctrine of uniformity be-
tween the different States, and I would declare instead
the sovereign right of each State to decide the slavery
question as well as all other domestic questions for
themselves, without interference from any other State
or power whatsoever.

When that principle is recognized, you will have
peace and harmony and fraternal feeling between all
the States of this Union; until you do recognize that
doctrine, there will be sectional warfare agitating and
distracting the country. What does Mr. Lincoln pro-
pose? He says that the Union cannot exist divided
into Free and Slave States. If it cannot endure thus
divided, then he must strive to make them all Free or
all Slave, which will inevitably bring about a dissolu-
tion of the Union.

Gentlemen, I am told that my time is out, and I am
obliged to stop.

Senator Stephen A. Douglas

SECOND JOINT DEBATE 37

SECOND JOINT DEBATE

Freeport, August 27, 1858

MR. LINCOLN’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen: On Saturday last, Judge
Douglas and myself first met in public discussion. He
spoke one hour, I an hour and a half, and he replied
for half an hour. The order is now reversed. I am
to speak an hour, he an hour and a half, and then I am
to reply for half an hour. I propose to devote myself
during the first hour to the scope of what \vas brought
within the range of his half-hour speech at Ottawa. . . .

I will take up the Judge’s interrogatories as I find
them printed in the Chicago Times, and answer them
seriatim. In order that there may be no mistake
about it, I have copied the interrogatories in writing,
and also my answers to them ….

As to the first one, in regard to the Fugitive Slave
law, I have never hesitated to say, and I do not now
hesitate to say, that I think, under the Constitution of
the United States, the people of the Southern States
are entitled to a. Congressional Fugitive Slave Law.
Having said that, I have had nothing to say in regard
to the existing Fugitive Slave Law, further than that I
think it should have been framed so as to be free from
some of the objections that pertain to it, without les-
sening its efficiency. And inasmuch as we are not now

88 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

in an agitation in regard to an alteration or modifica-
tion of that law, I would not be the man to introduce
it as a new subject of agitation upon the general ques-
tion of slavery.

In regard to the other question, of whether I am
pledged to the admission of any more Slave States into
the Union, I state to you very frankly that 1 would be
exceedingly sorry ever to be put in a position of hav-
ing to pass upon that question. 1 should be exceed-
ingly glad to know that there would never be another
Slave State admitted into the Union; but 1 must add,
that if slavery shall be kept out of the Territories dur-
ing the territorial existence of any one given Territory,
and then the people shall, having a fair chance and a
clear field, when they come to adopt the constitution,
do such an .extraordinary thing as to adopt a slave con-
stitution, uninfluenced by the actual presence of the
institution among them, I see no alternative, if we own
the country, but to admit them into the Union.

The third interrogatory is answered by the answer
to the second, it being, as I conceive, the same as the
second.

The fourth one is in regard to the abolition of slav-
ery in the District of Columbia. In relation to that,
I have my mind very distinctly made up. I should be
exceedingly glad to see slavery abolished in the Dis-
trict of Columbia. I believe that Congress possesses
the constitutional power to abolish it. Yet as a mem-
ber of Congress, I should not, with my present views,
be in favor of endeavoring to abolish slavery in the
District of Columbia, unless it would be upon these
conditions: first, that the abolition should be gradual;

SECOND JOINT DEBATE 39

second, that it should be on a vote of the majority of
qualified voters in the District; and third, that compen-
sation should be made to unwilling owners. With these
three conditions, I confess I would be exceedingly glad
to see Congress abolish slavery in the District of Col-
umbia, and, in the language of Henry Clay, “sweep
from our Capitol that foul blot upon our nation/’

In regard to the fifth interrogatory, I must say here,
that as to the question of the abolition of the slave
trade between the different States, I can truly answer,
as I have, that I am pledged to nothing about it. It
is a subject to which I have not given that mature con-
sideration that would make me feel authorized to state
a position so as to hold myself entirely bound by it.
In other words, that question has never beei;i promi-
nently enough before me to induce me to investigate
whether we really have the constitutional power to do
it. I could investigate it if I had sufficient time to
bring myself to a conclusion upon that subject; but I
have not done so, and I say so frankly to you here, and
to Judge Douglas. I must say, however, that if I
should be of opinion that Congress does possess the
constitutional power to abolish the slave trade among
the different States, I should still not be in favor of
the exercise of that power unless upon some conserva-
tive principle, as I conceive it, akin to what I have said
in relation to the abolition of slavery in the District
of Columbia.

My answer as to whether I desire that slavery should
be prohibited in all the Territories of the United States,
is full and explicit within itself, and cannot be made
clearer by any comments of mine. So I suppose in re-

40 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

gard to the question whether I am opposed to the ac-
quisition of any more territory unless slavery is first
prohibited therein, my answer is such that I could add
nothing by way of illustration, or making myself better
understood, than the answer which I have placed in
writing. . . .

I now proceed to propound to the Judge the interrog-
atories, so far as I have framed them. I will bring for-
ward a new installment when I get them ready. 1 will
bring them forward now only reaching to number four.

The first one is: —

Question 1. — If the people of Kansas shall, by means
entirely unobjectionable in all other respects, adopt a
^ate Constitution, and ask admission into the Union
under it, before they have the requisite number of in-
habitants according to the English bill, — some ninety-
three thousand, — will you vote to admit them?

Question 2. Can the people of a United States Ter-
ritory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citi-
zen of the United States, exclude slavery from its limits
prior to the formation of a State Constitution?^

Question 3. If the Supreme Court of the United
States shall decide that States cannot exclude slavery
from their limits, are you in favor of acquiescing in,
adopting, and following such decision as a rule of polit-
ical action?

Question 4. Are you in favor of acquiring addi-
tional territory, in disregard of how such acquisition
may affect the nation on the slavery question? ….

Go on, Judge Douglas. .

13. This is thought to be the most important of all questions put to
Douirlas by Lincoln.

SECOND JOINT DEBATE 41

MR. DOUGLAS’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen: The silence with which you
have listened to Mr. Lincoln during his hour is credit-
able to this vast audience, composed of men of various
political parties. Nothing is more honorable to any
large mass of people assembled for the purpose of a
fair discussion, than that kind and respectful attention
that is yielded not only to your political friends, but to
those who are opposed to you in politics.

I am glad that at last I have brought Mr. Lincoln to
the conclusion that he had better define his position on
certain political questions to which I called his atten-
tion at Ottawa. He there showed no disposition, no
inclination, to answer them. I did not present idle
questions for him to answer merely for my gratifica-
tion. I laid the foundation for those interrogatories
by showing that they constituted the platform of the
party whose nominee he is for the Senate. I did not
presume that I had the right to catechise him as I saw
proper, unless I showed that his party, or a majority
of it, stood upon the platform and were in favor of the
propositions upon which my questions were based. I
desired simply to know, inasmuch as he had been nom-
inated as the first, last, and only choice of his party,
whether he concurred in the platform which that party
had adopted for its government. In a few moments 1
will proceed to review the answers which he has given
to these interrogatories; but, in order to relieve his
anxiety, I will first respond to these which he has pre-
sented to me. Mark you, he has not presented inter-
rogatories which have ever received the sanction of the
party with which I am acting, and hence he has no

42 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

other foundation for them than his own curiosity.
First, he desires to know, if the people of Kansas
shall form a constitution by means entirely proper and
unobjectionable, and ask admission into the Union as
a State, before they have the requisite population for
a member of Congress, whether I will vote for that ad-
mission. I will answer his question. In reference to
Kansas, it is my opinion that as she has population
enough to constitute a Slave State, she has people
enough for a Free State. I will not make Kansas an
exceptional case to the other States of the Union. I
hold it to be a sound rule, of universal application, to
require a Territory to contain the requisite popula-
tion. … On another occasion I proposed that neither
Kansas nor any other Territory should be admitted un-
til it had the requisite population. Congress did not
adopt any of my propositions containing this general
rule, but did make an exception of Kansas. I will
stand by that exception. Either Kansas must come in
as a Free State, with whatever population she may
have, or the rule must be applied to all the other Ter-
ritories alike. I therefore answer at once, that, it hav-
ing been decided that Kansas has people enough for a
Slave State, I hold that she has enough for a Free State.
I hope Mr. Lincoln is satisfied with my answer; and
now I would like to get his answer to his own interrog-
atory, — whether or not he will vote to admit Kansas
befoie she has the requisite population. I want to
know whether he will vote to admit Oregon before that
Territory has the requisite population. I would like
Mr. Lincoln to answer this question. 1 would like him
to take his own medicine.

SECOND JOINT DEBATE 43

The next question propounded to me by Mr. Lincoln
is, Can the people of a Territory, in any lawful way,
against the wishes of any citizen of the United States,
exclude slavery from their limits prior to the forma-
tion of a State Constitution? I answer emphatically,
as Mr. Lincoln has heard me answer a hundred times
from every stump in Illinois, that in my opinion the
people of a Territory can, by lawful means, exclude
slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a
State Constitution^ …. It matters not what way the
Supreme Court may hereafter decide as to the ab-
stract question whether slavery may or may not go into
a Territory under the Constitution, the people have the
lawful means to introduce it or exclude it as they
please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a day
or an hour anywhere, unless it is supported by local
police regulations. Those police regulations can only
be established by the local legislature; and if the peo-
ple are opposed to slavery, they will elect representa-
tives to that body who will by unfriendly legislation
effectually prevent the introduction of it into their
midst. If, on the contrary, they are for it, their leg-
islature will favor its extension. Hence, no matter
what the decision of the Supreme Court may be on
that abstract question, still the right of the people to
make a Slave Territory or a Free Territory is perfect
and complete under the Nebraska bill. I hope Mr.
Lincoln deems my answer satisfactory on that point.

The third question which Mr. Lincoln presented is.
If the Supreme Court of the United States shall decide

1. This is the affirmative reply of Douglas to the important question of
Lincoln.

’44 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

that a State of this Union cannot exclude slavery from
its own limits, will I submit to it? I am amazed that
Lincoln should ask such a question.

[**A school-boy knows better.”]

Yes, a school-boy does know better. Mr. Lincoln’s
object is to cast an imputation upon the Supreme Court.
He might as well ask me, Suppose Mr. Lincoln should
steal a horse, would I sanction it; and it would be as
genteel in me to ask him, in the event he stole a horse,
what ought to be done with him. He casts an imputa-
tion upon the Supreme Court of the United States, by
supposing that they would violate the Constitution of
the United States. I tell him that such a thing is not
possible. It would be an act of moral treason that no
man on the bench could ever descend to. Mr. Lincoln
himself would never in his partial feelings so far forget
what was right as to be guilty of such an act.

The fourth question of Mr. Lincoln is. Are you in
favor of acquiring additional territory, in disregard
as to how such acquisition may affect the Union on the
slavery question? This question is very ingeniously
and cunningly put.

The Black Republican creed lays it down expressly,
that under no circumstances shall we acquire any more
territory, unless slavery is first prohibited in the coun-
try. I ask Mr. Lincoln whether he is in favor of that
proposition. Are you (addressing Mr. Lincoln) op-
posed to the acquisition of any more territory, under
any circumstances, unless slavery Is prohibited in it?
That he does not like to answer. When I ask him
whether he stands up to that article in the platform of
his party, he turns, Yankee-fashion, and without an-

SECOND JOINT DEBATE 45

swering it, asks me whether I am in favor of acquir-
ing territory without regard to how it may affect the
Union on the slavery question. I answer, that when-
ever it becomes necessary, in our growth and progress,
to acquire more territory, that I am in favor of it,
without reference to the question of slavery; and when
we have acquired it, I will leave the people free to do
as they please, either to make it slave or free terri-
tory, as they prefer. …

I trust now that Mr. Lincoln will deem himself an-
swered on his four points. He racked his brain so
much in devising these four questions that he ex-
hausted himself, and had not strength enough to in-
vent the others. As soon as he is able to hold a coun-
cil with his advisers, Lovejoy, Farnsworth, and Fred
Douglass,^ he will frame and propound others.

[**Good, Good.”]

You Black Republicans who say *’good,” I have no
doubt think that they are all good men. I have reason
to recollect that some people in this country think that
Fred Douglass is a very good man. The last time I came
here to make a speech, while talking from the stand to
you people of Freeport, as I am doing to-day, I saw a
carriage — and a magnificent one it was — ^drive up and
take a position on the outside of the crowd; a beauti-
ful young lady was sitting on the box-seat, while Fred
Douglass and her mother reclined inside and the owner
of the carriage acted as driver. I saw this in your own
town.

15. Lovejoy and Farnsworth were Abolitionist leaders of Illinois. Fred
Douglass was a free negro of unusual ability. In citing these men as
Lincoln’s advisers, Douglas is emphasizing Lincoln’s supposed connection
with the obnoxious Abolitionists.

46 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

[**Whatof it?”]

All I have to say of it is this, that if you Black Repub-
licans think that the negro ought to be on a social equal-
ity with your wives and daughters, and ride in a car-
riage with your wife, whilst you drive the team, you
have perfect right to do so. I am told that one of Fred
Douglass’ kinsmen, another rich black negro, is now
traveling in this part of the State making speeches for
his friend Lincoln as the champion of the black men.

[“What have you to say against it?”]

All I have to say on that subject is, that those of you
who believe that the negro is your equal and ought to
be on an equality with you socially, politically, and
legally, have a right to entertain those opinions, and of
course will vote for Mr. Lincoln. . . .

Now, there are a great many Black Republicans of
you who do not know this thing was done.

[* ‘White, white,” and great clamor.]

I wish to remind you that while Mr. Lincoln was
speaking there was not a Democrat vulgar and black-
guard enough to interrupt him. But I know that the
shoe is pinching you. I am clinching Lincoln now, and
you are scared to death for the result. I have seen this
thing before. I have seen men make appointments for
joint discussions, and the moment their man has been
heard, try to interrupt and prevent a fair hearing of
the other side. 1 have seen your mobs before, and
defy your wrath. [Tremendous applause.]

My friends, do not cheer, for I need my whole time

Mr. Lincoln lays down the doctrine that this Union
cannot endure divided as our fathers made it, with

SECOND JOINT DEBATE 47

Free and Slave States. He says they must all become
one thing, or all the other; that they must all be free
or all slave, or else the Union cannot continue to exist;
it being his opinion that to admit any more Slave
States, to continue to divide the Union into Free and
Slave States, will dissolve it. I want to know of Mr.
Lincoln whether he will vote for the admission of an-
other Slave State.

He tells you the Union cannot exist unless the States
are all free or all slave; he tells you that he is opposed
to making them all slave, and hence he is for making
them all free, in order that the Union may exist; and
yet he will not say that he will not vote against another
Slave State, knowing that the Union must be dissolved
if he votes for it. I ask you if that is fair dealing.
…. Show me that it is my duty, in order to save
the Union, to do a particular act, and I will do it if
the Constitution does not prohibit it. I am not for
the dissolution of the Union under any circumstances.
I will pursue no course of conduct that will give just
cause for the dissolution of the Union. The hope of
the friends of freedom throughout the world rests upon
the perpetuity of this Union. The down-trodden and
oppressed people who are suffering under European
despotism all look with hope and anxiety to the Amer-
ican Union as the only resting place and permanent
home of freedom and self-government. . . .

I know Mr. Lincoln’s object; he wants to divide the
Democratic party, in order that he may defeat me and
get to the Senate. . . .

48 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES
MR. LINCOLN’S REJOINDER

My Friends: It will readily occur to you that I can-
not, in half an hour, notice all the things that so able
a man as Judge Douglas can say in an hour and a half;
and I hope, therefore, if there be anything that he has
said upon which you would like to hear something from
me, but which I omit to comment upon, you will bear
in mind that it would be expecting an impossibility
for me to go over his whole ground. I can but take
up some of the points that he has dwelt upon, and em-
ploy my half-hour specially on them.

The first thing I have to say to you is a word in re-
gard to Judge Douglas’s declaration about the “vul-
garity and blackguardism” in the audience, — that no
such thing, as he says, was shown by any Democrat
while I was speaking. Now, I only wish, by way of
reply on this subject, to say that while I was speaking,
I used no * ‘vulgarity or blackguardism” toward any
Democrat. . . .

He says I do not declare I would in any event vote
for the admission of a Slave State into the Union. If
I have been fairly reported, he will see that I did give
an explicit answer to his interrogatories; I did not
merely say that I would dislike to be put to the test,
but I said clearly, if I were put to the test, and a Ter-
ritory from which slavery had been excluded should
present herself with a State Constitution sanctioning
slavery, — a most extraordinary thing and wholly un-
likely to happen, — I did not see how I could avoid vot-
ing for her admission. But he refuses to understand
that I said so, and he wants this audience to under-
stand that I did not say so. Yet it will be so reported

SECOND JOINT DEBATE 49

in the printed speech that he cannot help seeing it.

He says if I should vote for the admission of a Slave
State I would be voting for a dissolution of the Union,
because I hold that the Union cannot permanently ex-
ist half slave and half free. I repeat that I do not be-
lieve this Government can endure permanently half
slave and half free; yet I do not admit, nor does it at
all follow, that the admission of a single Slave State
will permanently fix the character and establish this
as a universal slave nation. The Judge is very happy
indeed at working up these quibbles. . . .

His hope rested on the idea of enlisting the great
“Black Republican” party, and making it the tail of
his new kite. He l^nows he was expecting from day
to day to turn Republican and place himself at the
head of our organization. He has found that these
despised ”Black Republicans” estimate him by a stand-
ard which he has taught them none too well. Hence
he is crawling back into his old camp, and you will
find him eventually installed in full fellowship among
those whom he was then battling, and with whom he
now pretends to be at such fearful variance.

[Loud applause and cries of *’Go on, Go on.”]

I cannot, gentlemen, my time has expired.

50 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

THIRD JOINT DEBATE

Jonesboro, September 15, 1858

MR. DOUGLAS’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen: I appear before you to-day
in pursuance of a previous notice, and have made ar-
rangements with Mr. Lincoln to divide time, and dis-
cuss with him the leading political topics that now
agitate the country.

Prior to 1854 this country was divided into two great
political parties known as Whig and Democratic. Since
that period, a great revolution has taken place in the
formation of parties, by which they now seem to be
divided by a geographical line, a large party in the
North being arrayed under the Abolition or Republi-
can banner, in hostility to the Southern States, South-
ern people, and Southern institutions. . . .

They were Republicans or Abolitionists in the North,
anti-Nebraska men down about Springfield, and in this
neighborhood they contented themselves with talking
about the inexpediency of the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise. In the extreme northern counties they
brought out men to canvass the State whose complexion
suited their political creed; and hence Fred Douglass,
the negro, was to be found there, following General
Cass,^ and attempting to speak on behalf of Lincoln,

1. Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, a Democratic candidate for the presi-
dency in 1848, was defeated by Gen. Zachary Taylor, a Whig.

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 51

Trumbull, and Abolitionism, against that illustrious
Senator. Why, they brought Fred Douglass to Free-
port, when I was addressing a meeting there, in a car-
riage driven by the white owner, the negro sitting in-
side with the white lady and her daughter. . . .

Mr. Lincoln likens that bond of the Federal Consti-
tution, joining Free and Slave States together, to a
house divided against itself, and says that it is con-
trary to the law of God, and cannot stand. When did
he learn, and by what authority does he proclaim, that
this Government is contrary to the law of God and can-
not stand? It has stood thus divided into Free and
Slave States from its organization up to this day. Dur-
ing that period we have increased from four millions
to thirty millions of people; we have extended our
territory from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean; we
have acquired the Floridas and Texas, and other ter-
ritory sufficient to double our geographical extent; we
have increased in population, in wealth, and in power
beyond any example on earth; we have risen from a
weak and feeble power to become the terror and ad-
miration of the civilized world; and all this has been
done under a Constitution which Mr. Lincoln, in sub-
stance, says is in violation of the law of God; and under
a Union divided into Free and Slave States, which Mr.
Lincoln thinks, because of such division, cannot stand.
Surely, Mr. Lincoln is a wiser man than those who
framed the Government. . . .

I hold that a negro is not and never ought to be a citi-
zen of the United States. I hold that this Government
was made on the white basis, by white men, for the ben-
efit of white men and their posterity forever, and should

52 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

be administered by white men and none others. I do not
believe that the Almighty made the negro capable of
self-government. I am aware’ that all the Abolition
lecturers that you find traveling about through the
country are in the habit of reading the Declaration of
Independence to prove that all men were created equal
and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable
rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness. Mr. Lincoln is very much in the habit
of following in the track of Lovejoy in this particular,
by reading that part of the Declaration of Independ-
ence to prove that the negro was endowed by the Al-
mighty with inalienable right of equality with white
men. Now, I say to you, my fellow-citizens, that in
my opinion, the signers of the Declaration had no ref-
erence to the negro whatever, when they declared all
men to be created equal. They desired to express by
that phrase white men, men of European birth and
European descent, and had no reference either to the
negro, the savage Indians, the Fiji, the Malay, or
any other inferior and degraded race, when they spoke
of the equality of men. One great evidence that such
was their understanding, is to be found in the fact that
at that time every one of the thirteen colonies was a
slaveholding colony, every signer of the Declaration
represented a slaveholding constituency, and we know
that not one of them emancipated his slaves, much less
offered citizenship to them, when they signed the Dec-
laration; and yet, if they intended to declare that the
negro was the equal of the white man, and entitled by
divine right to an equality with him, they were bound,
as honest men, that day and hour to have put their ne-

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 53

groes on an equality with themselves. Instead of do-
ing so, with uplifted eyes to Heaven they implored the
divine blessing upon them, during the seven years*
bloody war they had to fight to maintain that Declar-
ation, never dreaming that they were violating divine
law by still holding the negroes in bondage and depriv-
ing them of equality.

My friends, I am in favor of preserving this Govern-
ment as our fathers made it. It does not follow by
any means that because a negro is not your equal or
mine, that hence he must necessarily be a slave. On
the contrary, it does follow that we ought to extend
to the negro every right, every privilege, every im-
munity, which he is capable of enjoying, consistent
with the good of society. When you ask me what
these rights are, what their nature and extent is, I tell
you that is a question which each State of this Union
must decide for itself. . . .

I now come back to the question, why cannot this
Union exist forever, divided into Free and Slave States,
as our fathers made it? It can thus exist if each State
will carry out the principles upon which our institu-
tions were founded ; to wit, the rights of each State to
do as it pleases, without meddling with its neighbors.
Just act upon that great principle, and this Union will
not only live forever, but it will extend and expand
until it covers the whole continent, and makes this con-
federacy one grand, ocean-bound Republic. We must
bear in mind that we are yet a young nation, growing
with a rapidity unequalled in the history of the world,
that our national increase is great, and that the emi-
gration from the old world is increasing, requiring us

54 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

to expand and acquire new territory from time to time,
in order to give our people land to live upon. If we
live upon the principle of State rights and State sover-
eignity, each State regulating its own affairs and mind-
ing its own business, we can go on and extend indefin-
itely, just as fast and as far as we need the territory ….

MR. LINCOLN’S REPLY

Ladies and Gentlemen : There is very much in the
principles that Judge Douglas has here enunciated that
I must cordially approve, and over which I shall have
no controversy with him. In so far as he has insisted
that all the States have the right to do exactly as they
please about all their domestic relations, including that
of slavery, I agree entirely with him. He places me
wrong in spite of all I can tell him, though I repeat it
again and again, insisting that I have no difference
with him upon this subject. I have made a great many
speeches, some of which have been printed, and it will
be utterly impossible for him to find anything that I
have ever put in print contrary to what I now say upon
this subject. I hold myself under constitutional obli-
gations to allow the people in all the States, without
interference, direct or indirect, to do exactly as they
please; and I deny that I have any inclination to inter-
fere with them, even if there were no such constitu-
tional obligation. I can only say again that I am placed
improperly — altogether improperly, in spite of all I
can say — when it is insisted that I entertain any other
view or purposes in regard to that matter.

While I am upon this subject, I will make some an-

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 55

swers briefly to certain propositions that Judge Doug-
las has put. He says, **Why can’t this Union endure
permanently, half slave and half free?” I have said
that I supposed it could not, and I will try, before this
new audience, to give briefly some of the reasons for
entertaining that opinion. Another form of his ques-
tion is, “Why can’t we let it stand as our fathers
placed it?” That is the exact difficulty between us.
I say that Judge Douglas and his friends have changed
it from the position in which our fathers originally
placed it. I say, in the way our fathers originally
left the slavery question, the institution was in the
course of ultimate extinction, and the public mind
rested in the belief that it was in the course of ulti-
mate extinction. I say, when this Government was first
established, it was the policy of its founders to pro-
hibit the spread of slavery into the new Territories of
the United States, where it had not existed. But Judge
Douglas and his friends have broken up that policy,
and placed it upon a new basis, by which it is to be-
come national and perpetual. All I have asked or de-
sired anywhere is that it should be placed back again
upon the basis that the fathers of our Government orig-
inally placed it upon. I have no doubt that it would
become extinct, for all time to come, if we but re-
adopted the policy of the fathers, by restricting it to
the limits it has already covered, — restricting it from
the new Territories. . . .

He also says that the Whig party in National Con-
vention agreed to abide by and regard as a finality the
Compromise of 1850. . . .

When that Compromise was made it did not repeal

56 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

the old Missouri Compromise. It left a region of United
States territory half as large as the present territory
of the United States, north of the line of 36 degrees 30
minutes, in which slavery was prohibted by act of Con-
gress. This Compromise did not repeal that one. It
did not affect or propose to repeal it. But at last it
became Judge Douglas’s duty, as he thought (and I
find no fault with him), as Chairman of the Commit-
tee on Territories, to bring in a bill for the organiza-
tion of a Territorial Government, — first of one, then
of two Territories^ north of that line. When he did so
it ended in his inserting a provision substantially re-
pealing the Missouri Compromise. That was because
the Compromise of 1850 had not repealed it. And now
I ask why he could not have let that Compromise alone?
We were quiet from the agitation of the slavery ques-
tion. We were making no fuss about it. All had ac-
quiesced in the Compromise measures of 1850. We
never had been seriously disturbed by an Abolition
agitation before that period. When he came to form
governments for the Territories north of the line of
36 degrees, 30 minutes, why could he not have let that
matter stand as it was standing? Was it necessary to
the organization of a Territory? Not at all. Iowa
lay north of the line, and had been organized as a Terri-
tory, and come into the Union as a State, without dis-
turbing that Compromise. There was no sort of neces-
sity for destroying it to organize these Territories.
But, gentlemen, it would take up all my time to meet
all the little quibbling arguments of Judge Douglas to
show that the Missouri Compromise was repealed by

1, Kansas and Nebraska,

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 57

the Compromise of 1850. My own opinion is, that a
careful investigation of all the arguments to sustain
the position that that Compromise was virtually re-
pealed by the Compromise of 1850 would show that
they are the merest fallacies. . . .

In complaining of what I said in my speech at
Springfield, in which he says I accepted my nomina-
tion for the Senatorship (where, by the way, he is at
fault, for if he will examine it,’ he will find no accept-
ance in it), he again quotes that portion in which I
said that **a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Let me say a word in regard to that matter. He tries
to persuade us that there must be a variety in the dif-
ferent institutions of the States of the Union; that
that variety necessarily proceeds from the variety of
soil, climate, of the face of the country, and the dif-
ference in the natural features of the States. I agree
to all that. Have these very matters ever produced
any difficulty amongst us? Not at all. Have we ever
had any quarrel over the fact that they have laws in
Louisiana designed to regulate the commerce that
springs from the production of sugar? Or because we
have a different class relative to the production of
flour in this State? Have they produced any differ-
ences? Not at all. They are the very cements of this
Union. They don’t make the house a ”house divided
against itself.” They are the props that hold up the
house and sustain the Union.

But has it been so with this element of slavery?
Have we not always had quarrels and difficulties over
it? And when will we cease to have quarrels over it?
Like causes produce like effects. It is worth while to

58 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

observe that we have generally had comparative peace
upon the slavery question, and that there has been no
cause for alarm until it was excited by the effort to
spread it into new territory. Whenever it has been
limited to its present bounds, and there has been no
effort to spread it, there has been peace. All the
trouble and convulsion has proceeded from efforts to
spread it over more territory. It was thus at the date
of the Missouri Compromise. It was so again with
the annexation of Texas; so with the territory ac-
quired by the Mexican War; and it is so now. When-
ever there has been an effort to spread it there has
been agitation and resistance. Now, I appeal to this
audience (very few of whom are my political friends),
as national men, whether we have reason to expect
that the agitation in regard to this subject will cease
while the causes that tend to reproduce agitation are
actively at work? Will not the same cause that pro-
duced agitation in 1820, when the Missouri Compro-
mise was formed, — that which produced the agitation
upon the annexation of Texas, and at other times, —
work out the same results always? Do you think that
the nature of man will be changed, that the same
causes that produced agitation at one time will not
have the same effect at another?

This has been the result so far as my observation of
the slavery question and my reading in history ex-
tends. What right have we, then, to hope that the
trouble will cease, that the agitation will come to an
end, until it shall either be placed back where it orig-
inally stood, and where the fathers originally placed
it, or, on the other hand, until it shall entirely master

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 59

all opposition? This is the view I entertain, and this
is the reason why I entertained it, as Judge Douglas
has read from my Springfield speech. . . .

At Freeport I answered several interrogatories that
had been propounded to me by Judge Douglas at the
Ottawa meeting. The Judge has not yet seen fit to
find any fault with the position that I took in regard
to those seven interrogatories, which were certainly
broad enough, in all conscience, to cover the entire
ground. In my answers, which have been printed, and
all have had the opportunity of seeing, I take the
ground that those who elect me must expect that I will
do nothing which will not be in accordance with those
answers. I have some right to assert that Judge Doug-
las has no fault to find with them. But he chooses to
still try to thrust me upon different ground, without
paying any attention to my answers, the obtaining of
which from me cost him so much trouble and concern.
At the same time I propounded four interrogatories to
him, claiming it as a right that he should answer as
many interrogatories for me as I did for him, and I
would reserve myself for a future installment when I
got them ready. The Judge, in answering me upon
that occasion, put in what I suppose he intends as an-
swers to all four of my interrogatories. . . .

The second interrogatory that I propounded to him
was this: —

Question 2. Can the people of a United States Ter-
ritory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citi-
zen of the United States, exclude slavery from its lim-
its prior to the formation of a State Constitution?

To this Judge Douglas answered that they can law-

60 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

fully exclude slavery from the Territory prior to the
formation of a Constitution. He goes on to tell us
how it can be done. As I understand him, he holds
that it can be done by the Territorial Legislature re-
fusing to make any enactments for the protection of
slavery in the Territory, and especially by adopting
unfriendly legislation to it. For the sake of clearness,
I state it again: that they can exclude slavery from
the Territory, 1st, by witholding what he assumes to
be an indispensable assistance to it in the way of leg-
islation; and, 2nd, by unfriendly legislation. If I
rightly understood him, I wish to ask your attention
for a while to his position.

In the first place, the Supreme Court of the United
States has decided that any Congressional prohibition
of slavery in the Territories is unconstitutional, that
they have reached this proposition as a conclusion from
their former proposition, that the Constitution of the
United States expressly recognizes property in slaves,
and from that other Constitutional provision, that no
person shall be deprived of property without due proc-
ess of law. Hence, they reach the conclusion that as
the Constitution of the United States expressly recog-
nizes property in slaves, and prohibits any person from
being deprived of property without due process of law,
to pass an Act of Congress by which a man who owned
a slave on one side of a line would be deprived of him
if he took him on the other side, is depriving him of
that property without due process of law. That I
understand to be the decision of the Supreme Court.
I understand also that Judge Douglas adheres most
firmly to that decision; and the difficulty is, how is it

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 61

possible for any power to exclude slavery from the Ter-
ritory, unless in violation of that decision? That is
the difficulty. …

I hold that the proposition that slavery cannot enter
a new country without police regulations is historically
false. It is not true at all. I hold that the history of
this country shows that the institution of slavery was
originally planted upon this continent without these
‘^police regulations” which the Judge now thinks nec-
essary for the actual establishment of it. Not only so,
but is there not another fact: how came this Dred Scott
decision to be made? It was made upon the case of a
negro being taken and actually held in slavery in Min-
nesota Territory, claiming his freedom because the act
of Congress prohibited his being so held there. Will
the Judge pretend that Dred Scott was not held there
without police regulations? There is at least one mat-
ter of record as to his having been held in slavery in
the Territory, not only without police regulations, but
in the teeth of Congressional legislation supposed to
be valid at the time. This shows that there is vigor
enough in slavery to plant itself in a new country even
against unfriendly legislation. It takes not only law,
but the enforcement of law, to keep it out. . . .

My fifth interrogatory is this:

If the slaveholding citizens of a United States Ter-
ritory should need and demand Congressional legisla-
tion for the protection of their slave property in such
Territory, would you, as a member of Congress, vote
for or against such legislation?

Judge Douglas: Will you repeat that? I want to
answer that question.

62 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

Mr. Lincoln: If the slaveholding citizens of a United
States Territory should need and demand Congressional
legislation for the protection of their slave proi)erty in
such Territory, would you, as a memb r of Congress,
vote for or against such legislation?

I am aware that in some of the speeches Judgi
Douglas has made he has spoken as if he did not knot
or think that the Supreme Court had decided that \
Territorial Legislature cannot exclude slavery. Fn
cisely what the Judge would say upon the subject
whether he would say definitely that he does not un
derstand they have so decided, or whether he wouli
say he does understand that the court have so decided
— I do not know; but I know that in his speech a
Springfield he spoke of it as a thing they had not de-
cided yet; and in his answer to me at F’reeport he
spoke of it, so far, again, as I can comprehend it,
as a thing that had not yet been decided. Now I hold
that if the Judge does entertain that view, I think that
he is not mistaken in so far as it can be said that the
court has not decided anything save the mere question
of jurisdiction. I know the legal arguments that can
be made, — that after a court has decided that it can-
not take jurisdiction in a case, it then has decided all
that is before it, and that is the end of it. A plausible
argument can be made in favor of that proposition;
but 1 know that Judge Douglas has said in one of his
speeches that the court went forward, like honest men
as they were, and decided all the points in the case.
If any points are really extra-judicially decided, be-
cause not necessarily before them, then this one as to
the power of the Territorial Legislature to exclude

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 63

slavery is one of them, as also the one that the Missouri
Compromise was null and void. They are both extra-
judicial, or neither is, according as the court held that
they had no jurisdiction in the case between the parties,
because of want of capacity of one party to maintain a
suit in that court. I want, if I have sufficient time,
to show that the court did pass its opinion; but that is
the only thing actually done in the case. If they did
not decide, they .showed what they were ready to de-
cide whenever the matter was before them. What is
that opinion? After having argued that Congress had
no power to pass a law excluaing slavery from a United
States Territory, they then used language to this effect:
That inasmuch as Congress Itself could not exercise
such a power, it followed as a matter of course that it
could not authorize a Territorial Governinent to exer-
cise it; for the Territorial Lrgislature can do no more
than Congress could do. 7hus it expressed its opinion
emphatically against the power of a Territorial Legis-
lature to exclude slavery, leaving us in jurt as little
doubt on that point as upon any other point thay really
decided.

Now, my fellow-citizens, I will detain you only a
little while longer; my time is nearly out. I find a
report of a speech made by Judge Douglas at Joliet,
since we last met at Freeport— published, I believe, in
the Missouri Republican — on the 9th of this month, in
which Judge Douglas says:

You know at Ottawa, I read this platform, and asked him
if he concurred in each and all of the principles set forth in
it. He would not answer these questions. At last I said
frankly, I wish you to answer them, because when I get
them up here where the color of your principles are a little

64 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

darker than in Egypt, I intend to trot you down to Jonesboro.
The very notice that I was going to take him down to Egypt
made him tremble in the knees so that he had to be carried
from the platform. He laid up seven days, and in the mean-
time held a consultation with all his political physicians;
they had Lovejoy, and Farnsworth, and all the leaders of
the Abolition party; they consulted it all over, and at last
Lincoln came to the conclusion that he would answer, so he
came up to Freeport last Friday.

Now, that statement altogether furnishes a subject
for philosophical contemplation. I have been treat-
ing it in that way, and I have really come to the con-
clusion that I can explain it in no other way than by
believing the Judge is crazy. If he was in his right
mind, I cannot conceive how he would have risked dis-
gusting the four or five thousand of his own friends
who stood there, and knew, as to my having been car-
ried from the platform, that there was not a word of
truth in it.

Judge Douglas: Did n’t they carry you off?

Mr. Lincoln: There that question illustrates the
character of this man Douglas exactly. He smiles now
and says, **Didn’t they carry you off?” But he said
then, **hehadto be carried off;” and he said it to
convince the country that he had so completely broken
me down by his speech that I had to be carried away.^
Now he seeks to dodge it, and asks, “Did n’t they carry
you off?” Yes, they did. But, Judge Douglas, why
didn’t you tell the truth? I would like to know why
you did n’t tell the truth about it. And then again,
**He laid up seven days.” He put this in print for

1. In truth, Lincoln’s enthusiastic friends carried him on their shoulders at
the close of the Ottawa debate.

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 65

the people of the country to read as a serious docu-
ment…. There is another thing in that statement
that alarmed me very greatly as he states it, that he
was going to **trot me down to Egypt.” Thereby he
would have you to infer that I would not come to Egypt
unless he forced me,’ — that I could not be got here,
unless he, giant-like, had hauled me down here. That
statement he makes, too, in the teeth of the knowledge
that I had made the stipulation to come down here,
and that he himself had been very reluctant to enter
into the stipulation. More than all this, Judge Doug-
las, when he made that statement, must have been
crazy, and wholly out of his sober senses, or else he
would have known that when he got me down here,
that promise — that windy promise — of his powers to
annihilate me, would n’t amount to anything. Now,
how little do I look like being carried away trembling?
Let the Judge go on; and after he is done with his
half hour, I want you all, if I can’t go home myself,
to let me stay and rot here; and if anything happens
to the Judge, if I cannot carry him to the hotel and
put him to bed, let me stay here and rot. I say, then,
there is something extraordinary in this statement. I
ask you if you know any other living man who would
make such a statement? I will ask my friend Casey,
over there, if he would do such a thing? Would he
send that out, and have his men take it as the truth?
Did the Judge talk of trotting me down to Egypt to
scare me to death? Why, I know this people better
than he does. I was raised just a little east of here.
I am a part of this people. But the Judge was raised
further north, and perhaps he has some horrid idea of

66 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS’DEBATES

what this people might be induced to do. But really,
I have talked about this matter perhaps longer than I
ought, for it is no great thing; and yet the smallest
are often the most difficult things to deal with. The
Judge has set about seriously trying to make the im-
pression that when we meet at different places I am
literally in his clutches, — that I am a poor, helpless,
decrepit mouse, and that I can do nothing at all. This
is one of the ways he has taken to create that impres-
sion. I don’t know any other way to meet it, except
this. I don’t want to quarrel with him, — to call him
a liar; but when 1 come square up to him I don’t know
what else to call him, if I must tell the truth out. I
want to be at peace and reserve all my fighting powers
for necessary occasions. My time, now, is very nearly
out, and I give up the trifle that is left to the Judge,
to let him set my knees trembling again, if he can.

MR. DOUGLAS’S REPLY

My friends, while I am very grateful to you for the
enthusiasm which you show for me, I will say in all
candor, that your quietness will be much more agree-
able than your applause, inasmuch as you deprive me
of some part of my time whenever you cheer.

I will commence where Mr. Lincoln left off, and make
a remark upon this serious complaint of his about my
speech at Joliet. I did say there in a playful manner
that when I put these questions to Mr. Lincoln at Ot-
tawa he failed to answer, and that he trembled and
had to be carried off the stand, and required seven
days to get up his reply. That he did not walk off

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 67

from that stand, he will not deny. That when the crowd
went away from the stand with me, a few persons carried
him home, on their shoulders and laid him down, he will
admit. I wish to say to you that whenever I degrade
my friends and myself by allowing them to carry me on
their backs along through the public streets, when I
am able to walk, I am willing to be deemed crazy. . . .
In the first place, Mr. Lincoln says he would be
exceedingly sorry to be put in a position where he
would have to vote on the question of the admission
of a Slave State. Why is he a candidate for the Sen-
ate if he would be sorry to be put in that position? I
trust the people of Illinois will not put him in a posi-
tion which he would be so sorry to occupy. The next
position he takes is that he would be glad to know that
there would never be another Slave State, yet in cer-
tain contingencies, he might have to vote for one.
What is that contingency? **If Congress keeps slavery
out by law while it is a Territory, and then the people
should have a fair chance and should adopt slavery,
uninfluenced by the presence of the institution,” he
supposed he would have to admit the State. Suppose
Congress should not keep slavery out during their ter-
ritorial existence, then how would he vote when the
people applied for admission into the Union with a
slave constitution? That he does not answer; and that
is the condition of every Territory we have now got.
Slavery is not kept out of Kansas by act of Congress;
and when I put the question to Mr. Lincoln, whether
he will vote for the admission with or without slavery,
as her people may desire, he will not answer, and you
have not got an answer from him. In Nebraska, slav-

68 THE. LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

ery is not prohibited by act of Congress, but the people
are allowed, under the Nebraska bill, to do as they
please on the subject; and when I ask him whether he
will vote to admit Nebraska with a slave constitution
if her people desire it, he will not answer. So with
New Mexico, Washington Territory, Arizona, and the
four new States to be admitted from Texas. ^ You
cannot get an answer from him to these questions.
His answer only applies to a given case, to a condition,
— things which he knows do not exist in any one Ter-
ritory in the Union. He tries to give you to under-
stand that he would allow the people to do as they
please, and yet he dodges the question as to every Ter-
ritory in the Union. I now ask why cannot Mr. Lin-
coln answer as to each of these Territories? He has not
done it, and he will not do it. The Abolitionists up
North understand that this answer is made with a view
of not committing himself on any one Territory now
in existence. It is so understood there, and you can-
not expect an answer from him on a case that applies
to any one Territory, or applies to the new States which
by compact we are pledged to admit out of Texas,
when they have the requisite population and desire ad-
mission. I submit to you whether he has made a frank
answer, so that you can tell how he would vote in any
one of these cases. “He would be sorry to be put in
the position.” Why would he be sorry to be put in
this position, if his duty required him to give the vote?
If the people of a Territory ought to be permitted to
come into the Union as a State, with slavery or with-

1. When Texas was admitted to the Union in 1846, it was provided that ad-
ditional States, not exceeding four in number, might be formed from it,
with its consent. This condition was not jsivaiJed of.

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 69

out it, as they pleased, why not give the vote admit-
ting them, cheerfully? If in his opinion they ought
not to come in with slavery, even if they wanted to,
why not say that he would cheerfully vote against
their admission? His intimation is that conscience
would not let him vote “No,” and he would be sorry
to do that which his conscience would compel him to
do as an honest man ….

But Mr. Lincoln does not want to be held responsible
for the Black Republican doctrine of no more Slave
States. Farnsworth is the candidate of his party to-
day in the Chicago District, and he made a speech in
the last Congress in which he called upon God to palsy
his right arm if he ever voted for the admission of an-
other Slave State, whether the people wanted it or not.
Lovejoy is making speeches all over the State for Lin-
coln now, and taking ground against any more Slave
States. Washburne, the Black Republican candidate
for Congress in the Galena District, is making speeches
in favor of this same Abolition platform, declaring no
more Slave States. Why are men running for Con-
gress in the northern districts, and taking that Aboli-
tion platform for their guide, when Mr. Lincoln does
not want to be held to it down here in Egypt and in
the center of the State, and objects to it so as to get
votes here? Let me tell Mr. Lincoln that his party in
the northern part of the State hold to that Abolition
platform, and that if they do not in the south and in
the center, they present the extraordinary spectacle of
a * ‘house divided against itself,” and hence * ‘cannot
stand.” I now bring do.wn upon him the vengeance
of his own Scriptural quotation, and give it a more

70 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

appropriate application than he did, when I say to him
that his party, Abolition in one end of the State and
opposed to it in the other, is a house divided against
its^f , and cannot stand, and ought not to stand, for it
attempts to cheat the American people out of their
votes by disguising its sentiments. . . .

I was not born out West here. I was born away down
in Yankee land. I was born in a valley in Vermont,
with the high mountains around me. I love the old green
mountains and valleys of Vermont, where I was born,
and where I played in my childhood. I went up to
visit them some seven or eight years ago, for the first
time for twenty-odd years. When I got there they
treated me very kindly. They invited me to the com-
mencement of their college, placed me on the seats
with their distinguished guests, and conferred upon
me the degree of LL.D., in Latin (doctor of laws), —
the same as they did Old Hickory, at Cambridge, many
years ago; and I give you my word and honor I under-
stand just as much of Latin as he did. When they
got through conferring the honorary degree, they called
upon me for a speech; and I got up, with my heart
full and swelling with gratitude for their kindness,
and I said to them, *’My friends, Vermont is the most
glorious spot on the face of this globe for a man to be
born in, provided he emigrates when he is very young.”
I emigrated when I was very young. I came out here
when I was a boy, and I found my mind liberalized, and
my opinions enlarged, when I got on these broad prair-
ies, with only the heavens to bound my vision, instead of
having them circumscribed by the little narrow ridges
that surrounded the valley where I was born. .,

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 71

Mr. Lincoln has framed another question, propounded
it to me, and desired my answer. … It is as follows:
**If the slaveholding citizens of a United States Terri-
tory should need and demand Congressional legislation
for the protection of their slave property in such Ter-
ritory, would you, as a member of Congress, vote for
or against such legislation?” I answer him that it is
a fundamental article in the Democratic creed that
there should be non-interference and non-intervention
by Congress with slavery in the States or Territories.
Mr. Lincoln could have found an answer to his ques-
tion in the Cincinnati platform, if he had desired it.
The Democratic party has always stood by that great
principle of non-interference and non-intervention by
Congress with slavery in the States and Territories
alike, and I stand on that platform now.

Now, I desire to call your attention to the fact that
Lincoln did not define his own position in his own ques-
tion. How does he stand on that question? He put
the question to me at Freeport whether or not I would
vote to admit Kansas into the Union before she had
93,420 inhabitants. I answered him at once that, it
having been decided that Kansas had now population
enough for a Slave State, she had population enough
for a Free State.

I answered the question unequivocally; and then I
asked him whether he would vote for or against the
admission of Kansas before she had 93,420 inhabitants,
and he would not answer me. To-day he has called at-
tention to the fact that, in his opinion, my answer on
that question was not quite plain enough, and yet he
has not answered it himself. He now puts a question

72 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

in relation to the Congressional interference in the
Territories to me. I answer him direct, and he has
not answered the question himself. I ask you whether
a man has any right, in common decency, to put ques-
tions in these public discussions, to his opponent, which
he will not answer himself, when they are pressed
home to him. I have asked him three times whether
he would vote to admit Kansas whenever the people
applied with a Constitution of their own making, and
their own adoption, under circumstances that were fair,
just, and unexceptionable; but I cannot get an answer
from him. Nor will he answer the question which he
put to me, and which I have just answered, in relation
to Congressional interference in the Territories, by
making a slave code there.

It is true that he goes on to answer the question by
arguing that under the decision of the Supreme Court
it is the duty of a man to vote for a slave code in the
Territories. He says that it is his duty, under the de-
cision that the court has made; and if he believes in
that decision he would be a perjured man if he did not
give the vote. I want to know whether he is not bound
to a decision which is contrary to his opinions just as
much as to one in accordance with his opinions. If
the decision of the Supreme Court, the tribunal created
by the Constitution to decide the question, is final and
binding, is he not bound by it just as strongly as if he
was for it instead of against it, originally? Is every
man in this land allowed to resist decisions he does not
like, and only support those that meet his approval?
What are important courts worth, unless their decisions
are binding on all good citizens? It is the fundamental

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 73

principle of the judiciary that its decisions are final.
It is created for that purpose; so that when you can-
not agree among yourselves on a disputed point you
appeal to the judicial tribunal, which steps in and de-
cides for you, and that decision is then binding on ev-
ery good citizen. It is the law of the land just as
much with Mr. Lincoln against it as for it. And yet
he says that if that decision is binding he is a perjured
man if he does not vote for a slave code in the differ-
ent Territories of this Union. Well, if you (turning
to Mr. Lincoln) are not going to resist the decision,
if you obey it, and do not intend to array mob law
against the constituted authorities, then, according to
your own statement, you will be a perjured man if
you do not vote to establish slavery in these Territo-
ries. My doctrine is, that even taking Mr. Lincoln’s
view that the decision recognizes the right of a man
to carry his slaves into the Territories of the United
States if he pleases, yet after he gets there he needs
affirmative law to make that right of any value. The
same doctrine not only applies to slave property, but
all other kinds of property. Chief Justice Taney^
places it upon the ground that glave property is on an
equal footing with other property. Suppose one of
your merchants should move to Kansas and open a liquor
store; ‘he has a right to take groceries and liquors
there; but the mode of selling them, and the circum-
stances under which they shall be sold, and all the
remedies, must be prescribed by local legislation; and

1. Roger B. Taney (pronounced Taw’ny) was the Chief Justice of the
United States Supreme Court who wrote the decision that Dred Scott con-
tinued to be a slave after having resided in free territory.

74 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

if that is unfriendly it will drive him out just as effec-
tually as if there was a constitutional provision against
the sale of liquor. So the absence of local legislation
to encourage and support slave property in a Territory
excludes it practically just as effectually as if there

v^,#L¥^r^M;

Scene at One of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates

was a positive Constitutional provision against it.
Hence, I assert that under the Dred Scott decision you
cannot maintain slavery a day in a Territory where
there is an unwilling people and unfriendly legislation.
If the people are opposed to it, our right is a barren,
worthless, useless right; and if they are for it, they

THIRD JOINT DEBATE 75

will support and encourage it. We come right back,
therefore, to the practical question, if the people of a
Territory want slavery they will have it, and if they
do not want it, you cannot force it on them. And this
is the practical question, the great principle, upon
which our institutions rest. I am willing to take the
decision of the Supreme Court as it was pronounced by
that august tribunal, without stopping to inquire
whether I would have decided that way or not. … In
a government of laws, like ours, we must sustain the
Constitution as our fathers made it, and maintain the
rights of the States as they are guaranteed under the
Constitution; and then we will have peace and harmony
between the different States and sections of this glo-
rious Union.

76 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

FOURTH JOINT DEBATE,

Charleston, September 18, 1858

MR. LINCOLN’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen: It will be very difficult for
an audience so large as this to hear distinctly what a
speaker says, and consequently it is important that as
profound silence be preserved as possible.

While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentle-
man called upon me to know whether I was really in
favor of producing perfect equality between the negroes
and white people. While I had not proposed to myself
on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the
question was asked me, I thought I would occupy per-
haps five minutes in saying something in regard to it.
I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in
favor of bringing about in any way the social and po-
litical equality of the white and black races; that I am
not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or
jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office,
nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in
addition to this that there is a physical difference be-
tween the white and black races which I believe will
forever forbid the two races living together on terms
of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they
cannot so live, while they do remain together there must
be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much

FOURTH JOINT DEBATE 77

as any other man, am in favor of having the superior
position assigned to the white race. I say upon this
occasion I do not perceive that because the white man
is to have the superior position, the negro should be
denied everything. I do not understand that because
I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must neces-
sarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that
I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year,
and I certainly never had a black woman for either a
slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for
us to get along without making either slaves or wives
of negroes. . . . But as Judge Douglas and his friends
seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if
there were no law to keep them from it, I give the
most solemn pledge that I will, to the very last, stand
by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying
of white people with negroes. I will add one further
word, which is this: that I do not understand that
there is any place where an alteration of the social and
political relations of the negro and the white man can
be made, except in the State Legislature, — not in the
Congress of the United States; and as I do not really
apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and
as Judge Douglas seems to be in constant horror that
some such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as
the best means to prevent it, that the Judge be kept at
home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the
measure. I do not propose dwelling longer at this time
on this subject.

78 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

SENATOR DOUGLAS’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen: I had supposed that we as-
sembled here to-day for the purpose of a joint discus-
sion between Mr. Lincoln and myself, upon the polit-
ical questions that now agitate the whole country.
The rule of such discussions is, that the opening speaker
shall touch upon all the points he intends to discuss, in
order that his opponent, in reply, shall have the oppor-
tunity of answering them. Let me ask you, what ques-
tions of public policy, relating to the welfare of this
State or the Union, has Mr. Lincoln discussed before
you? Mr. Lincoln simply contented himself at the
outset by saying that he was not in favor of social and
political equality between the white man and the ne-
gro, and did not desire the law so changed as to make
the latter voters or eligible to office. I am glad that
I have at last succeeded in getting an answer out of
him upon this question of negro citizenship and eligi-
bility to office, for I have been trying to bring him to
the point on it ever since this canvass commenced. . . .

Fellow-citizens, I came here for the purpose of dis-
cussing tlie leading political topics which now agitate
the country. I have no charges to make against Mr.
Lincoln, none against Mr. Trumbull, and none against
any man who is a candidate, except in repelling their
assaults upon me. If Mr. Lincoln is a man of bad char-
acter, I leave you to find it out; if his votes in the past
are not satisfactory, I leave others to ascertain the fact;
if his course on the Mexican War was not in accordance
with your notions of patriotism and fidelity to our own
country as against a public enemy, I leave you to as-
certain the fact. I have no assaults to make upon him,

FOURTH JOINT DEBATE 79

except to trace his course on the questions that now di-
vide the country and engross so much of the people’s
attention. . . .

I canvassed the State that year from the time I re-
turned home until the election^ came off, and spoke in
every county that I could reach during that period.
In the northern part of the State I found Lincoln’s ally,
in the person of Fred Douglass’s, the negro, preaching
Abolition doctrines, while Lincoln was discussing the
same principles down here, and Trumbull, a little far-
ther down, was advocating the election of members to
the Legislature whowouldact in concert with Lincoln’s
and Fred Douglass’s friends. I witnessed an effort
made at Chicago by Lincoln’s then associates, and
now supporters, to put Fred Douglass, the negro, on the
stand at a Democratic meeting, to reply to the illus-
trious General Cass,^ when he was addressing the peo-
ple there. They had the same negro hunting me down,
and they now have a negro traversing the northern
counties of the State and speaking in behalf of Lin-
coln. Lincoln knows that when we were at Freeport
in joint discussion there was a distinguished colored
friend of his there then, who was on the stump for him,
and who made a speech there the night before we
spoke, and another the night after, a short distance
from Freeport, in favor of Lincoln; and in order to
show how much interest the colored brethren felt in
the success of their brother Abe, I have with me here,
and would read it if it would not occupy too much of

1. The State Legislative election of 1834.

2. Lewis Cass, Michigan, Democrat, was Seci-etary of State under President
Buchanan, but resigned when Buchanan refused to reinforce Major Ander-
son at Fort Sumter.

80 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

my time, a speech made by Fred Douglass in Pough-
keepsie, N. Y., a short time since, to a large conven-
tion, in which he conjures all the friends of negro
equality and negro citizenship to rally as one man
around Abraham Lincoln, the perfect embodiment of
their principles, and by all means to defeat Stephen
A. Douglas. . . .

And now I will explain to you what has been a mys-
tery all over the State and Union, — the reason why
Lincoln was nominated for the United States Senate by
the Black Republican Convention. You know it has
never been usual for any party, or any convention, to
nominate a candidate for United States Senator. Prob-
ably this was the first time that such a thing was ever
done. The Black Republican Convention had not been
called for that purpose, but to nominate a State ticket,
and every man was surprised, and many disgusted, when
Lincoln was nominated. . . . He received the nomina-
tion unanimously, by a resolution declaring that Abra-
ham Lincoln was *’the first, last, and only choice” of
the Republican party. How did this occur? Why, be-
cause they could not get Lincoln’s friends to make an-
other bargain with “rogues,” unless the whole party
would come up as one man and pledge their honor that
they would stand by Lincoln first, last, and all the time,
and that he should not be cheated by Lovejoy this time,
as he was by Trumbull before. Thus, by passing this
resolution, the Abolitionists are all for him, Lovejoy
and Farnsworth^ are canvassing for him, Giddings” is

1. John F. Farnsworth, a Republican member of Congress from Illinois.

2. Joshua R. Giddings, member of Congress from Ohio, and prominent as
an opponent of slavery.

FOURTH JOINT DEBATE 81

ready to come here in his behalf, and the negro speak-
ers are already on the stump for him, and he is sure
not to be cheated this time. He would not go into the
arrangement until he got their bond for it, and Trum-
bull is compelled now to take the stump, get up false
charges against me, and travel all over the State to
try and elect Lincoln, in order to keep Lincoln’s friends
quiet about the bargain in which Trumbull cheated
them four years ago. You see, now, why it is that
Lincoln and Trumbull are so mighty fond of each other.
They have entered into a conspiracy to break me down
by these assaults on my public character, in order to
draw my attention from a fair exposure of the mode
in which they attempted to Abolitionize the old Whig
and the old Democratic parties, and lead them captive
into the Abolition camp. . . .

[“The party does not call itself Black Republican in
the North.”]

Sir, if you will get a copy of the paper published at
Waukegan, fifty miles from Chicago, which advocates
the election of Mr. Lincoln, and has his name flying at its
masthead, you will find that it declares that “this paper
is devoted to the cause” of Black Republicanism. . . .

I am told that I have eight minutes more. I would
like to talk to you an hour and a half longer, but I will
make the best use I can of the remaining eight min-
utes. Mr. Lincoln said in his first remarks that he
was not in favor of the social and political equality of
the negro with the white man. Everywhere up north
he had declared that he was not in favor of the social
and political equality of the negro, but he would not
say whether or not he was opposed to negroes voting,

82 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

and negro citizenship. I want to know whether he is
for or against negro citizenship. He declared his ut-
ter opposition to the Dred Scott decision, and advanced
as a reason that the court had decided that it was not
possible for a negro to be a citizen under the Consti-
tution of the United States. If he is opposed to the
Dred Scott decision for that reason, he must be in fa-
vor of conferring the right and privilege of citizenship
upon the negro. I have been trying to get an answer
from him on that point, but have never yet obtained
one. . . .

MR. LINCOLN’S REJOINDER

Fellow-citizens : It follows as a matter of course that
a lialf-hour answer to a speech of an hour and a half
can be but a very hurried one. I shall only be able to
touch upon a few of the points suggested by Judge
Douglas, and give them a brief attention, while I shall
have to totally omit others for the want of time.

Judge Douglas has said to you that he has not been
able to get from me an answer to the question whether
I am in favor of negro citizenship. So far as I know,
the Judge never asked me the question before. He
shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell
him very frankly that I am not in favor of negro citi-
zenship. This furnishes me an occasion for saying a
few words upon the subject. I mentioned, in a certain
speech of mine which has been printed, that the Su-
preme Court had decided that a negro could not possi-
bly be made a citizen; and without saying what was
my ground of complaint in regard to that, or whether

FOURTH JOINT DEBATE 83

1 had any ground of complaint, Judge Douglas has
from that thing manufactured nearly everything that
he ever says about my disposition to produce an
equality between the negroes and the white people. If
anyone will read my speech, he will find I mentioned
that as one of .the points decided in the course of the
Supreme Court opinions, but I did not state what ob-
jection I had to it. But Judge Douglas tells the people
what my objection was, when I did not tell them my-
self. Now, my opinion is, that the different States
have the power to make a negro a citizen under the
Constitution of the United States, if they choose. The
Dred Scott decision decides that they have not that
power. If the State of Illinois had that power, I should
be opposed to the exercise of it. That is all I have to
say about it.

Judge Douglas has told me that he heard my speeches
north, and my speeches south; that he had heard me
at Ottawa and at Freeport in the north, and recently
at Jonesboro in the south, and there was a very differ-
ent cast of sentiment in the speeches made at the differ-
ent points. I will not charge upon Judge Douglas that
he wilfully misrepresents me, but I call upon every
fair-minded man to take these speeches and read them,
and I dare him to point out any difference between my
speeches north and south. While I am here perhaps I
ought to say a word, if I have the time, in regard to
the latter portion of the Judge’s speech, which was a
sort of declamation in reference to my having said I
entertained the belief that this Government would not
endure, half slave and half free. I have said so, and
I did not say it without what seemed to me to be good

84 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

reasons. It perhaps would require more time than I
have now to set forth these reasons in detail; but let
me ask you a few questions. Have we ever had any
peace on this slavery question? When are we to have
peace upon it, if it is kept in the position it now occu-
pies? How are we ever to have peace .upon it? That
is an important question. To be sure, if we will all
stop, and allow Judge Douglas and his friends to
march on in their present career until they plant the
institution all over the nation, here, and wherever else
our flag waves, and we acquiesce in it, there will be
peace. But let me ask Judge Douglas how he is going
to get the people to do that? They have been wran-
gling over this question for at least forty years. This
was the cause of the agitation resulting in the Missouri
Compromise; this produced the troubles at the annex-
ation of Texas, in the acquisition of the territory ac-
quired in the Mexican War. Again, this was the
trouble which was quieted by the Compromise of 1850,
when it was settled * ‘forever,” as both the great po-
litical parties declared in their National Conventions.
That “forever” turned out to be just four years, when
Judge Douglas himself reopened it. When is it likely
to come to an end? He introduced the Nebraska bill
in 1854 to put another end to the slavery agitation.
He promised that it would finish it all up immediately,
and he has never made a speech since, until he got into
a quarrel with the President about the Lecompton
Constitution,^ in which he has not declared that we

1. Some citizens of Kansas Territory, in 1857, held a convention at Lecomp-
ton and formed a constitution, upon which the anti-slavery people refused to
vote. Although adopted “with slavery,” Congress accepted the Constitution ;
but it was not put into effect by the people of the territory.

FOURTH JOINT DEBATE 85

are just at the end of the slavery agitation. But in
one speech, I think last winter, he did say that he
didn’t quite see when the end of the slavery agitation
would come. Now he tells us again that it is all over,
and the people of Kansas have voted down the Lecomp-
ton Constitution. How is it over? That was only one
of the attempts at putting an end to the slavery agita-
tion, — one of those * ‘final settlements.” Is Kansas in
the Union? Has she formed a constitution that she is
likely to come in under? Is not the slavery agitation
still an open question in that Territory? Has the vot-
ing down of that constitution put an end to all the
trouble? Is that more likely to settle it than every
one of these previous attempts to settle the slavery
agitation? Now, at this day in the history of the
world, we can no more foretell where the end of this
slavery agitation will be than we can see the end of
the world itself. The Nebraska-Kansas bilH was in-
troduced four years and a half ago, and if the agita-
tion is ever to come to an end, we may say we are four
years and a half nearer the end. So, too, we can say
we are four years and a half nearer the end of the
world; and we can just as clearly see the end of the
world as we can see the end of this agitation. The
Kansas settlement did not conclude it. If Kansas
should sink to-day, and leave a great vacant space in
the earth’s surface, this vexed question would still be
among us. I say, then, there is no way of putting an
end to the slavery agitation amongst us, but to put it

1. In 1854, Congress passed an act to divide Nebraska into two Territories,
leaving the people of each Territory to decide whether they would come into
the Union as a slave or a free State. This was “squatter sovereignty.”

86 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

back upon the basis where our fathers placed it; no
way but to keep it out of our new Territories, — to re-
strict it forever to the old States where it now exists.
Then the public mind will rest in the belief that it is
in the course of ultimate extinction. That is one way
of putting an end to the slavery agitation.

The other way is for us to surrender, and let Judge
Douglas and his friends have their way and plant slav-
ery over all the States; cease speaking of it as in any
way a wrong; regard slavery as one of the common
matters of property, and speak of negroes as we do of
our horses and cattle. But while it drives on in its
state of progress as it is now driving, and as it has
driven for the last five years, I have ventured the opin-
ion, and I say to-day, that we will have no end to the
slavery agitation until it takes one turn or the other ….

My colleague says he is willing to stand on his pub-
lic record. By that he shall be tried; and if he had
been able to discriminate between the exposure of a
public act by the record, and a personal attack upon
the individual, he would have discovered that there
was nothing personal in my Chicago remarks, unless
the condemnation of himself by his own public record
is personal; and then you must judge who is most to
blame for the torture his public record inflicts upon
him: he for making, or I for reading it after it was
made. As an individual I care very little about Judge
Douglas one way or the other. It is his public acts
with which I have to do, and if they condemn, dis-
grace, and consign him to oblivion, he has only him-
self, not me, to blame. . . .

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 87

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE

Galesburg, October 7, 1858

MR. DOUGLAS’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen : Four years ago I appeared
before the people of Knox County^ for the purpose of
defending my political action upon the Compromise
measures of 1850 and the passage of the Kansas-Ne-
braska bill. Those of you before me who were pres-
ent then will remember that I vindicated myself for
supporting those two measures by the fact that they
rested upon the great fundamental principle that the
people of each State and each Territory of this Union
have the right, and ought to be permitted to exercise
the right, of regulating their own domestic concerns
in their own way, subject to no other limitation or
restriction than that which the Constitution of the
United States imposes upon them. I then called upon
the people of Illinois to decide whether that principle
of self-government was right or wrong. If it was and
is right, then the Compromise measures of 1850 were
right, and, consequently, the Kansas and Nebraska bill,
based upon the same prnciple must necessarily have
been right. . . .

[”Good for Lincoln.”]

Fellow-citizens, here you find men hurrahing for Lin-

1. Galesburg is the county seat of Knox county, Illinois,

88 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

coin, and saying that he did right, when in one part of
the State he stood up for negro equality, and in another
part, for political effect, discarded the doctrine, and de-
clared that there always must be a superior and in-
ferior race. ^ Abolitionists up north are expected and
required to vote for Lincoln, because he goes for the
equality of the races, holding that by the Declaration of
Independence the white man and the negro were created
equal, and endowed by the divine law with that equal-
ity; and down south he tells the old Whigs, the Ken-
tuckians, Virginians, and Tennesseans, that there is a
physical difference in the races, making one superior
and the other inferior, and that he is in favor of main-
taining the superiority of the white race over the ne-
gro. Now, how can you reconcile those two positions
of Mr. Lincoln? He is to be voted for in the south as
a pro-slavery man, and he is to be voted for in the
north as an Abolitionist. ‘ Up here he thinks it is all
nonsense to talk about a difference between the races,
and says that we must * ‘discard all quibbling about
this race and that race and the other race being in-
ferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior
position.’* Down south he makes this “quibble”
about this race and that race and the other race being
inferior as the creed of his party, and declares that the
negro can never be elevated to the position of the
white man. …

I tell you that this Chicago doctrine of Lincoln’s —
declaring that the negro and the white man are made
equal by the Declaration of Independence and by Di-
vine Providence — is a monstrous heresy. The signers
of the Declaration of Independence never dreamed of

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 89

the negro when they were writing that document.
They referred to white men, to men of European birth
and European descent, when they declared the equality
of all men. I see a gentleman there in the crowd shak-
ing his head. Let me remind him that when Thomas
Jefferson wrote that document, he was the owner, and
so continued until his death, of a large number of
slaves. Did he intend to say in that Declaration, that
his negro slaves, which he held and treated as prop-
erty, were created his equals by divine law, and that
he was violating the law of God every day of his life
by holding them as slaves? It must be borne in mind
that when that Declaration was put forth, every one
of the thirteen Colonies were slaveholding Colonies,
and every man who signed that instrument represented
a slaveholding constituency. Recollect, also, that no
one of them emancipated his slaves, much less put them
on an equality with himself, after he signed the Dec-
laration. On the contrary, they all continued to hold
their negroes as slaves during the Revolutionary War.
Now, do you believe — are you willing to have it said —
that every man who signed the Declaration of Inde-
pendence declared the negro his equal, and then was
hypocrite enough to continue to hold him as a slave,
in violation of what he believed to be the divine law?
And yet when you say that the Declaration of Inde-
pendence includes the negro, you charge the signers of
it with hypocrisy.

I say to you, frankly, that in my opinion, this Gov-
ernment was made by our fathers on the white basis.
It was made by white men for the benefit of white men
and their posterity forever, and was intended to be ad-

90 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

ministered by white men in all time to come. But
while I hold that under our Constitution and political
system the negro is not a citizen, cannot be a citizen,
and ought not to be a citizen, it does not follow by
any means that he should be a slave. On the contrary,
it does follow that the negro, as an inferior race, ought
to possess every right, every privilege, every immunity
which he can safely exercise, consistent with the safety
of the society in which he lives. Humanity requires,
and Christianity commands, that you shall extend to
every inferior being, and every dependent being, all
the privileges, immunities, and advantages which can
be granted to them, consistent with the safety of so-
ciety. If you ask me the nature and extent of these
privileges, I answer that that is a question which the
people of each State must decide for themselves. Il-
linois has decided that question for herself. We have
said that in this State the negro shall not be a slave,
nor shall he be a citizen. Kentucky holds a different
doctrine. New York holds one different from either,
and Maine one different from all. Virginia, in her
policy on this question, differs in many respects from
the others, and so on, until there are hardly two States
whose policy is exactly alike in regard to the relation
of the white man and the negro. Nor can you recon-
cile them and make them alike. Each State must do
as it pleases. Illinois had as much right to adopt the
policy which we have on that subject as Kentucky had
to adopt a different policy. The great principle of
this Government is, that each State has the right to do
as it pleases on all these questions, and no other State
or power on earth has the right to interfere with us,

^IFTH JOINT DEBATE 91

or complain of us merely because our system differs
from theirs. In the Compromise measures of 1850,
Mr. Clay declared that this great principle ought to
exist in the Territories as well as in the States, and I
reasserted his doctrine in the Kansas and Nebraska
bill in 1854.

But Mr. Lincoln cannot be made to understand., and
those who are determined to vote for him, no matter
whether he is a pro-slavery man in the South and a ne-
gro equality advocate in the North, cannot be made to
understand how it is that in a Territory the people can
do as they please on the slavery question under the
Dred Scott decision. Let us see whether I cannot ex-
plain it to the satisfaction of all impartial men. Chief
Justice Taney has said in his opinion in the Dred Scott
case, that a negro slave being property, stands on an
equal footing with other property, and that the owner
may carry them into United States territory the same
as he does other property. Suppose any two of you,
neighbors, should conclude to go to Kansas, one carry-
ing $100,000 worth of negro slaves, and the other
$100,000 worth of mixed merchandise, including quan-
tities of liquors. You both agree that under that de-
cision you may carry your property to Kansas. But
when you get there, the merchant who is possessed of
the liquors is met by the Maine liquor law, which pro-
hibits the sale or use of his property, and the owner of
the slaves is met by equally unfriendly legislation,
which makes his property worthless after he gets it
there. What is the right to carry your property into
the Territory worth to either, when unfriendly legis-
lation in the Territory renders it worthless after you

92 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

get it there. The slaveholder when he gets his slaves
there finds that there is no local law to protect him in
holding them, no slave code, no police regulation main-
taining and supporting him in his right; and he dis-
covers at once that the absence of such friendly legisla-
tion excludes his property from the Territory, just as
irresistibly as if there was a positive Constitutional
prohibtion excluding it. Thus you find it is with any
kind of property in a Territory, it depends for its pro-
tection on the local and municipal law. If the people
of a Territory want slavery, they make friendly legis-
lation to introduce it, but if they do not want it, they
withhold all protection from it, and then it cannot
exist there. Such was the view taken on the subject by
different Southern men when the Nebraska bill passed.
See the speech of Mr. Orr,^ of South Carolina, the
present Speaker of the House of Representatives of
Congress, made at that time, and there you will find
this whole doctrine argued out at full length. Read
the speeches of other Southern Congressmen, Senators
and Representatives, made in 1854, and you will find
that they took the same view of the subject as Mr.
Orr, — that slavery could never be forced on a people
who did not want it. I hold that in this country there
is no power on the face of the globe that can force any
institution on an unwilling people. The great funda-
mental principle of our Government is that the people
of each State and each Territory shall be left perfectly
free to decide for themselves what shall be the nature
and character of their institutions. When this Gov-

1. J. L. Orr, of South Carolina, a Democrat, was a devoted friend of the
Union and opposed to both nullification and secession.

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 93

ernment was made, it was based on that principle. At
the time of its formation there were twelve slavehold-
ing States and one Free State in this Union. Suppose
this doctrine of Mr. Lincoln and the Republicans, of
uniformity of laws of all the States on the subject of
slavery, had prevailed; suppose Mr. Lincoln himself
had been a member of the Convention which framed
the Constitution, and that he had risen in that august
body, and addressing the Father of his Country, had
said, as he did at Springfield: —

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe
this Government cannot endure permanently, half slave and
half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved, I do
not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to
be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.

What do you think would have been the result? Sup-
pose he had made that convention believe that doc-
trine, and they had acted upon it, what do you think
would have been the result? Do you believe that the
one Free State would have outvoted the twelve slave-
holding States, and thus abolish slavery? On the con-
trary, would not the twelve slaveholding States have
outvoted the one Free State, and under his doctrine
have fastened slavery by an irrevocable constitutional
provision upon every inch of the American Republic?
Thus you see that the doctrine he now advocates, if
proclaimed at the beginning of the Government, would
have established slavery everywhere throughout the
American Continent; and are you willing, now that
we have the majority section, to exercise a power
which we never would have submitted to when we were
in the minority? If the Southern States had attempted

94 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

to control our institutions, and make the States all
slave when they had the power, I ask, would you have
submitted to it? If you would not, are you willing,
now that we have become the strongest, under that great
principle of self-government that allows each State to
do as it pleases, to attempt to control the Southern in-
stitutions? Then, my friends, I say to you that there
is but one path of peace in this Republic, and that is
to administer this Government as our fathers made it,
divided into Free and Slave States, allowing each State
to decide for itself whether it wants slavery or not.
If Illinois will settle the slavery question for herself,
and mind her own business, and let her neighbors alone,
we will be at peace with Kentucky and every other
Southern State. If every other State in the Union
will do the same, there will be peace between the North
and the South, and in the whole Union.

MR. LINCOLN’S REPLY

The Judge has alluded to the Declaration of Inde-
pendence, and insisted that negroes are not included
in that Declaration; and that it is a slander upon the
framers of that instrument to suppose that negroes
were meant therein; and he asks you: Is it possible to
believe that Mr. Jefferson, who penned the immortal
paper, could have supposed himself applying the lan-
guage of that instrument to the negro race, and yet
held a portion of that race in slavery? Would he not
at once have freed them? I only have to remark upon
this part of the Judge’s speech (and that, too, very
briefly, for I shall not detain myself, or you, upon that

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 95

point for any great length of time), that I believe the
entire records of the world, from the date of the Dec-
laration of Independence up to within three years ago,
may be searched in vain for one single affirmation, from
one single man, that the negro was not included in the
Declaration of Independence; I think I may defy Judge
Douglas to show that he ever said so, that Washington
ever said so, that any President ever said so, that any
member of Congress ever said so, or that any living
man upon the whole earth ever said so, until the neces-
sities of the present policy of the Democratic party, in
regard to slavery, had to invent that affirmation. And
I will remind Judge Douglas and this audience that
while Mr. Jefferson was the owner of slaves, as un-
doubtedly he was, in speaking upon this very subject
he used the strong language that *’he trembled for his
country when he remembered that God was just;” and
I will offer the highest premium in my power to Judge
Douglas if he will show that he, in all his life, ever
uttered a sentiment at all akin to that of Jefferson ….
Now a few words in regard to these extracts from
speeches of mine, which Judge Douglas has read to
you, and which he supposes are in very great contrast
to each other. Those speeches have been before the
public for a considerable time, and if they have any
inconsistency in them, if there is any conflict in them,
the public have been able to detect it. When the
Judge says, in speaking on this subject, that I make
speeches of one sort for the people of the northern end
of the State, and of a different sort for the southern
people, he assumes that I do not understand that my
speeches will be put in print and read North and South.

96 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

I knew all the while that the speech that I made at
Chicago, and the one I made at Jonesboro and the one
at Charleston, woul;i all be put in print, and all the
reading and intelligent men- in the community would
see them and know all about my opinions. And I have
not supposed, and do not now suppose, that there is
any conflict whatever between them. But the Judge
will have it that if we do not confess that there is a
sort of inequality between the white and black races,
which justifies us in making them slaves, we must then
insist that there is a degree of equality that requires
us to make them our wives. Now, I have all the while
taken a broad distinction in regard to that matter; and
that is all there is in these different speeches which
he arrays here; and the entire reading of either of the
speeches will show that that distinction was made.
Perhaps by taking two parts of the same speech he
could have got up as much of a conflict as the one he
has found. I have all the while maintained that in so
far as it should be insisted that there was an equality
between the white and black races that should produce
a perfect social and political equality, it was an im-
possibility. This you have seen in my printed speeches,
and with it I have said, that in their right to **life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as proclaimed in
that old Declaration, the inferior races are our equals.
And these declarations I have constantly made in refer-
ence to the abstract moral question, to contemplate and
consider when we are legislating about any new coun-
try which is not already cursed with the actual pres-
ence of the evil, — slavery. I have never manifested
any impatience with the necessities that spring from

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 97

the acLial existence of slavery amongst us where it
dpes already exist; but I have insisted that, in legis-
lating for new countries where it does not exist, there
is no just rule other than that of moral and abstract
right! With reference to those new countries, those
maxims as to the right of a people to *’life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness,’^ were the just rules to
be constantly referred to. There is no misunderstand-
ing this, except by men interested to misunderstand
it. I take it that I have to address an intelligent and
reading community, who will peruse what I say, weigh
it, and then judge whether I advance improper or un-
sound views, or whether I advance hypocritical, and
deceptive, and contrary views in different portions of
the country. I believe myself to be guilty of no such
thing as the latter, though of course, I cannot claim
that I am entirely free from all error in the opinions I
advance.

The Judge has also detained us a while in regard to
the distinction between his party and our party. His
he assumes to be a national party, — ours a sectional
one. He does this in asking the question whether this
country has any interest in the maintenance of the
Republican party. He assumes that our party is al-
together sectional, — that the party to which he adheres
is national; and the argument is, that no party can be
a rightful party — can be based upon rightful princi-
ples — unless it can announce its principles everywhere.
I presume that Judge Douglas could not go into Russia
and announce the doctrine of our national Democracy;
he could not denounce the doctrine of kings and em-
perors and monarchies in Russia; and it may be true

98 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

of this country, that in some places we may not be able
to proclaim a doctrine as clearly true as the truth of
Democracy, because there is a section so directly op-
posed to it that they will not tolerate us in doing so.
Is it the true test of the soundness of a doctrine that in
some places people won’t let you proclaim it? Is that
the way to test the tfuth of any doctrine? Why, I un-
derstood that one time the people of Chciago would not
let Judge Douglas preach a certain favorite doctrine
of his. I commend to his consideration the question,
whether he takes that as a test of the unsoundness of
what he wanted to preach ….

We have a Republican State platform, laid down in
Springfield, in June last, stating our position all the
way through on the questions before the country. We
are now far advanced in this canvass. Judge Douglas
and I have made perhaps forty speeches apiece, and we
have now for the fifth time met face to face in debate,
and up to this day I have not found either Judge Doug-
las or any friend of his taking hold of the Republican
platform, or laying his finger upon anything in it that
is wrong. I ask you all to recollect that. Judge
Douglas turns away from the platform of principles to
the fact that he can find people somewhere who will
not allow us to announce those principles. If he had
great confidence that our principles were wrong, he
would take hold of them and demonstrate them to be
wrong. But he does not do so. The only evidence he
has of their being wrong is in the fact that there are
people who won’t allow us to preach them. I ask
again, is that the way to test the soundness of a doctrine?

I ask his attention also to the fact that by the rule

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 99

of nationality he is himself fast becoming sectional. I
ask his attention to the fact that his speeches would
not go as current now south of the Ohio river as they
have formerly gone there. I ask his attention to the
fact that he felicitates him.self to-day that all the Dem-
ocrats of the Free States are agreeing with him, while
he omits to tell us that the Democrats of any Slave
State agree with him. If he has not thought of this,
I commend to his consideration the evidence in his own
declaration, on this day, of his becoming sectional too.
I see it rapidly approaching. Whatever may be the
result of this ephemeral contest between Judge Douglas
and myself, I see the day rapidly approaching when his
pill of sectionalism, which he has been thrusting down
the throats of Republicans for years past, will be
crowded down his own throat. ^

Now, in regard to what Judge Douglas said (in the
beginning of his speech) about the Compromise of 1850
containing The principle of the Nebraska bill, although
I have often presented my views upon that subject, yet
as I have not done so in this canvass, I will, if you
please, detain you a little with them. I have always
maintained, so far as I was able, that there was nothing
of the principle of the Nebraska bill in the Compro-
mise of 1850 at all, — nothing whatever. Where can
you find the principle of the Nebraska bill in the Com-
promise? If anywhere, in the two pieces of the Com-
promise organizing the Territories of New Mexico and
Utah. It was expressly provided in these two Acts,
that, when they came to be admitted into the Union,
they should be admitted with or without slavery, as
they should choose by their own constitutions. Noth-

100 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

ing was said in either of those Acts as to what was to
be done in relation to slavery during the territorial ex-
istence of those Territories, while Henry Clay constantly
made the declaration (Judge Douglas recognizing him
as a leader) that, in his opinion, the old Mexican laws
would control that question during the territorial ex-
istence, and that these old Mexican laws excluded
slavery. How can that be used as a principle for de-
claring that during the territorial existence as well as at
the time of framing the Constitution, the people, if you
please, might have slaves if they wanted them? I am
not discussing the question whether it is right or
wrong; but how are the New Mexican and Utah laws
patterns for the Nebraska bill? I maintain that the
organization of Utah and New Mexico did not estab-
lish a general principle at all. It had no feature of
establishing a general principle. The Acts to which I
have referred were a part of a general system of Com-
promises. They did not lay down what was proposed
as a regular policy for the Territories, only an agree-
ment in this particular case to do in that way, because
other things were done that were to be a compensation
for it. They were allowed to come in in that shape,
because in another way it was paid for, — considering
that as a part of that system of measures called the
Compromise of 1850, which finally included half a dozen
Acts. It included the admission of California as a Free
State, which was kept out of the Union for a half a
year because it had formed a free Constitution. It in-
cluded the settlement of the boundary of Texas, which
had been undefined before, which was in itself a slavery
question; for if you pushed the line farther west, you

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 101

made Texas larger, and made more slave territory;
while, if you drew the line toward the east, you nar-
rowed the boundary and diminished the domain of
slavery, and by so much increased free territory. It
included the abolition of the slave trade in the District
of Columbia. It included the passage of a new Fugi-
tive Slave law. All these things were put together,
and though passed in separate Acts, were nevertheless,
in legislation (as the speeches at the time will show),
made to depend upon each other. Each got votes, with
the understanding that the other measures were to
pass, and by this system of compromise in that series
of measures, those two bills — the New Mexico and Utah
bills — were passed ; and I say for that reason they could
not be taken as models, framed upon their own intrin-
sic principle, for all future Territories. And I have
the evidence of this in the fact that Judge Douglas, a
year afterward, or more than a year afterward, per-
haps, when he first introduced bills for the purpose of
framing new Territories, did not attempt to follow
these bills of New Mexico and Utah; and even when
he introduced this Nebraska bill, I think you will dis-
cover that he did not exactly follow them. But I do
not wish to dwell at great length upon this branch of
the discussion. My own opinion is, that a thorough
investigation will show most plainly that the New
Mexico and Utah bills were part of a system of com-
promise, and not designed as patterns for future Terri-
torial legislation; and that this Nebraska bill did not
follow them as a pattern at all. . . .

While we were at Freeport, in one of these joint
discussions, I answered certain interrogatories which

102 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

Judge Douglas had propounded to me, and then in turn
propounded some to him which he in a sort of way
answered. The third one of these interrogatories 1
have with me and wish now to make some comments
upon it. It was in these words : ” If the Supreme Court
of the United States shall decide that the States cannot
exclude slavery from their limits, are you in favor of
acquiescing in, adhering to, and following such deci-
sion, as a rule of political action?”

To this interrogatory Judge Douglas made no answer
in any just sense of the word. He contented himself
with sneering at the thought that it was possible for
the Supreine Court ever to make such a decision. He
sneered at me for propounding the interrogatory. I
had not propounded it without some reflection, and 1
wish now to address to this audience some remarks
upon it.

In the second clause of the sixth article, I believe it
is, of the Constitution of the United States, we find the
following language: *This Constitution and the laws
of the United States which shall be made in pursuance
thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made,
under the authority of the United States, shall be the
supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State
shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or
laws of any State to the contrary, notwithstanding.”

The essence of the Dred Scott case is compressed into
the sentence which I will now read: **Now, as we have
already said in an earlier part of this opinion, upon a
different point, the right of property in a slave is dis-
tinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.” I
repeat it; “The right of property in a slave is distinctly

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 103

and expressly affirmed in the Constitution!’* What is
it to be “affirmed** in the Constitution? Made firm in
the Constitution, — so made that it cannot be separated
from the Constitution without breaking the Constitu-
tion; durable as the Constitution, and part of the Con-
stitution. Now, remembering the provision of the
Constitution which I have read; affirming that that in-
strument is the supreme law of the land; that the
judges of every State shall be bound by it, any law or
Constitution of any State to the contrary, notwithstand-
ing; that the right of property in a slave is affirmed
in that Constitution, is made, formed into, and cannot
be separated from it without breaking it; durable as
the instrument; part of the instrument; — what follows
as a short and even syllogistic argument from it? I
think it follows, and I submit to the consideration of
men capable of arguing, whether as I state it in syl-
logistic form the argument has any fault in it:

Nothing in the Constitution or laws of any State can
destroy a right distinctly and expressly affirmed in the
Constitution of the United States.

The right of property in a slave is distinctly and ex-
pressly affirmed in the Constitution of the United States.

Therefore, nothing in the Constitution or laws of any
State can destroy the right of property in a slave.

I believe that no fault can be pointed out in that
argument; assuming the truth of the premises, the
conclusion, so far as I have capacity at all to under-
stand it, follows inevitably. There is a fault in it, as
I think, but the fault is not in the reasoning; but the
falsehood in fact is a fault of the premises. I believe
that the right of property in a slave is not distinctly

104 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

and expressly affirmed in the Constitution, and Judge
Douglas thinks it is. I believe that the Supreme Court
and the advocates of that decision may search in vain
for the place in the Constitution where the right of a
slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed. I say, there-
fore, that I think one of the premises is not true in
fact. But it is true with Judge Douglas. It is true
with the Supreme Court who pronounced it. They are
estopped from denying it, and being estopped from deny-
ing it the conclusion follows that, the Constitution of
the United States being the supreme law, no constitu-
tion or law can interfere with it. It being affirmed
in the decision that the right of property in a slave is
distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution,
the conclusion inevitably follows that no State law or
constitution can destroy that right. I then say to Judge
Douglas and to all others, that I think it will take a
better answer than a sneer to show that those who have
said that the right of property in a slave is distinctly
and expressly affirmed in the Constitution, are not pre-
pared to show that no constitution or law can destroy
that right. . . .

I proposed to Judge Douglas another interrogatory,
which was correlative to that: “Are you in favor of ac-
quiring additional territory, in disregard of how it
may affect us upon the slavery question?’^ Judge
Douglas answered, — that is, in his own way he an-
swered it. I believe that, although he took a good
many words to answer it, it was a little more fully an-
swered than any other. The substance of his answer
was, that this country would continue to expand; that
it would need additional territory; that it was as ab-

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 105

surd to suppose that we could continue upon our present
territory, enlarging in population as we are, as it would
be to hoop a boy twelve years of age, and expect him
to grow to man’s size without bursting the hoops. I
believe it was something like that. Consequently, he
was in favor of the acquisition of further territory, as
fast as we might need it, in disregard of how it might
affect the slavery question. I do not say this as giving
his exact language, but he said so substantially; and
he would leave the question of slavery where the terri-
tory was acquired to be settled by the people of the
acquired territory. [”That’s the doctrine.”] Maybe
it is; let us consider that for a while. This will prob-
ably, in the run of things, become one of the concrete
manifestations of this slavery question. If Judge
Douglas’s policy upon this question succeeds, and gets
fairly settled down, until all opposition is crushed out,
the next thing will be a grab for the territory of poor
Mexico, an invasion of the rich lands of South America,
then the adjoining islands will follow, each one of
which promises additional slave-fields. And this ques-
tion is to be left to the people of those countries for
settlement. When we shall get Mexico, I don’t know
whether the Judge will be in favor of the Mexican
people that we get with it settling that question for
themselves and all others; because we know the Judge
has a great horror for mongrels, and I understand that
the people of Mexico are most decidedly a race of
mongrels. I understand that there is not more than
one person there out of eight who is pure white, and I
suppose from the Judge’s previous declaration that
when we get Mexico or any considerable portion of it.

106 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

that he will be in favor of these mongrels settling the
question, which would bring him somewhat into collu-
sion with his horror of an inferior race.

It is to be remembered, though, that this power of
acquiring additional territory is a power confided to
the President and Senate of the United States. It is a
power not under the control of the representatives of
the people any further than they, the President and
the Senate, can be considered the representatives of
the people. Let me illustrate that by a case we have
in our history. When we acquired the territory from
Mexico in the Mexican War, the House of Representa-
tives, composed of the immediate representatives of
the people, all the time insisted that the territory thus
to be acquired should be brought in upon condition
that slavery should be forever prohibited therein, upon
the terms and in the language that slavery had been
prohibited from coming into this country. This was
insisted upon constantly and never failed to call forth
an assurance that any territory thus acquired should
have that prohibition in it, so far as the House of
Representatives was concerned. But at last the Presi-
dent and Senate acquired the territory without asking
the House of Representatives anything about it, and
took it without that prohibition. They have the power
of acquiring territory without the immediate represent-
atives of the people being called upon to say anything
about it and thus furnishing a very apt and powerful
means of bringing new territory into the Union, and,
when it is once brought into the country, involving us
anew in this slavery agitation. It is, therefore, as I
think, a very important question for the consideration

FIFTH JOINT DEBATE 107

of the American people, whether the policy of bring-
ing in additional territory, without considering at all
how it will operate upon the safety of the Union in
reference to this one great disturbing element in our
national politics, shall be adopted as the policy of the
country. You will bear in mind that it is to be ac-
quired, according to the Judge’s view, as fast as it is
needed, and the indefinite part of this proposition is
that we have only Judge Douglas and his class of men
to decide how fast it is needed. We have no clear and
certain way of determining or demonstrating how fast
territory is needed by the necessities of the country.
Whoever wants to go out filibustering, then, thinks
that more territory is needed. Whoever wants wider
slave-fields, feels sure that some additional territory is
needed as slave territory. Then it is as easy to show
the necessity of additional slave territory as it is to
assert anything that is incapable of absolute demon^
stration. Whatever motive a man or a set of men may
have for making annexation of property or territory,
it is very easy to assert, but much less easy to disprove,
that it is necessary for the wants of the country. . . .

MR. DOUGLAS’S REPLY

Mr. Lincoln asserts to-day, as he did at Chicago, that
the negro was included in that clause of the Declara-
tion of Independence which says that all men were
created equal, and endowed by the Creator with cer-
tain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness. If the negro was made
his equal and mine, if that equality was established by

108 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

divine law, and was the negro’s inalienable right, how
came he to say at Charleston to the Kentuckians resid-
ing in that section of our State, that the negro was
physically inferior to the white man, belonged to an
inferior race, and he was for keeping him always in
that inferior condition. I wish you to bear these
things in mind. At Charleston he said that the negro
belonged to an inferior race, and that he was for keep-
ing him in that inferior condition. There he gave the
people to understand that there was no moral question
involved, because the inferiority being established it
was only a question of degree, and not a question of
right; here, to-day, instead of making it a question of
degree, he makes it a moral question, says that it is a
great crime to hold the negro in that inferior condi-
tion. [”He’s right.”] Is he right now, or was he
right in Charleston? [”Both.”] He is right then,
sir, in your estimation, not because he is consistent,
but because he can trim his principles any way, in any
section, so as to secure voters. All I desire of him is
that he will declare the same principles in the South
that he does in the North. …

He complains because I did not go into an argument
reviewing Chief Justice Taney’s opinion, and the other
opinions of the different judges, to determine whether
their reasoning is right or wrong on the questions of
law. What use would that be? He wants to take an
appeal from the Supreme Court to this meeting, to de-
termine whether the questions of law were decided
properly. He is going to appeal from the Supreme
Court of the United States to every town meeting, in
the hope that he can excite a prejudice against that

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 109

court, and on the wave of that prejudice ride into the
Senate of the United States, when he could not get
there on his own principles or his own merits. Sup-
pose he should succeed in getting- into the Senate of
the United States, what then will he have to do with
the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott
case? Can he reverse that decision when he gets there?
Can he act upon it? Has the Senate any right to re-
verse it or revise it? He will not pretend that it has.
Then why drag the matter into this contest, unless for
the purpose of making a false issue, by which he can
direct public attention from the real issue. . .

no THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE

Quincy, October 13, 1858

MR. LINCOLN’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen: I have had no immediate
conference with Judge Douglas, but I will venture to
say that he and I will perfectly agree that your entire
silence, both when I speak and when he speaks, will be
most agreeable to us. . . .

When the Judge says he would n’t have believed of
Abraham Lincoln that he would have made such an
attempt as that, he reminds me of the fact that he en-
tered upon this canvass with the purpose to treat me
courteously; that touched me somewhat. It sets me
to thinking. I was aware, when it was first agreed
that Judge Douglas and I were to have these seven
joint discussions, that they were the successive acts of
a drama, — perhaps I should say, to be enacted, not
merely in the face of audiences like this, but in the
face of the nation, and to some extent, by my relation
to him, and not from anything in myself, in the face
of the world; and I am anxious that they should be
conducted with dignity and in the good temper which
would be befitting the vast audience before which it
was conducted ….

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 111

We have in this nation this element of domestic
slavery. It is a matter of absolute certainty that it is
a disturbing element. It is the opinion of all the great
men who have expressed an opinion upon it, that it is
a dangerous element. We keep up a controversy in
regard to it. That controversy necessarily springs from
difference of opinion; and if we can learn exactly — can
reduce to the lowest elements — what this difference of
opinion is, we shall perhaps be better prepared for dis-
cussing the different systems of policy that we would
propose in regard to that disturbing element. I sug-
gest that the dift’erence of opinion, reduced to its low-
est terms, is no other than the difference between the
men who think slavery a wrong and those who do not
think it wrong. The Republican party think it wrong;
we think it is a moral, a social,’ and a political wrong.
We think it is a wrong not confining itself merely to
the persons or the States where it exists, but that it
is a wrong in its tendency, to say the least, that ex-
tends itself to the existence of the whole nation. Be-
cause we think it wrong, we propose a course of policy
that shall deal with it as a wrong. We deal with it as
with any other wrong, in so far as we can prevent its
growing any larger, and so deal with it that in the run
of time there may be some promise of an end to it.
We have a due regard to the actual presence of it
amongst us, and the difficulties of getting rid of it in
any satisfactory way, and all the constitutional obliga-
tions thrown about it. I suppose that in reference
both to its actual existence in the nation, and to our
constitutional obligations, we have no right at all to
disturb it in the States where it exists, and we profess

112 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

that we have no more inclination to disturb it than we
have the right to do it. We go further than that; we
don’t propose to disturb it where, in one instance, we
think the Constitution would permit us. We think
the Constitution would permit us to disturb it in the
District of Columbia. Still, we do not propose to do
that, unless it should be in terms which I don’t suppose
the nation is very likely soon to agree to, — the terms
of making the emancipation gradual, and compensating
the unwilling owners. Where we suppose we have the
constitutional right, we restrain ourselves in reference
to the actual existence of the institution and the diffi-
culties thrown about it. We also oppose it as an evil,
so far as it seeks to spread itself. We insist on the
policy that shall restrict it to its present limits. We
don’t suppose that in ‘doing this we violate anything
due to the actual presence of the institution, or any-
thing due to the constitutional guarantees thrown
around it.

We oppose the Dred Scott decision in a certain way,
upon which I ought perhaps to address you a few words.
We do not propose that when Dred Scott has been de-
cided to be a slave by the court, we, as a mob, will de-
cide him to be free. We do not propose that, when
any other one, or one thousand, shall be decided by
that court to be slaves, we will in any violent way dis-
turb the rights of property thus settled; but we never-
theless do oppose that decision as a political rule which
shall be binding on the voter to vote for nobody who
thinks it wrong, which shall be binding on the mem-
bers of Congress or the President to favor no measure
that does, not actually concur with the principles of

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 113

that aecision. We do not propose to be bound by it
as a political rule in that way, because we think it lays
the foundation, not merely of enlarging and spreading
out what we consider an evil, but it lays the founda-
tion for spreading that evil into the States themselves.
jWe propose so resisting it as to have it reversed if we
can, and a new judicial rule established upon this sub-
ject. I will add this, that if there be any man who
jdoes not believe that slavery is wrong in the three
aspects which I have mentioned, or in any one of them,
that man is misplaced, and ought to leave us. While,
on the other hand, if there be any man in the Repub-
lican party who is impatient over the necessity spring-
ing from its actual presence, and is impatient of the
constitutional guarantees thrown around it, and would
act in disregard of these, he too is misplaced, stand-
ing with us. He will find his place somewhere else;
for we have a due regard, so far as we are capable of
understanding them, for all these things. This, gen-
tlemen, as well as I can give it, is a plain statement of
our principles in their enormity.

I will say now that there is a sentiment in the coun-
try contrary to me, — a sentiment which holds that

avery is not wrong, and therefore it goes for the
policy that does not propose dealing with it as a wrong.
That policy is the Democratic policy, and that senti-
ment is the Democratic sentiment. If there be a doubt
in the mind of any one of this vast audience that this
is really the central idea of the Democratic party in
relation to this subject, I ask him to bear with me
while I state a few things tending, as I think, to prove
[that proposition. In the first place, the leading man — ‘

114 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

I think I may do my friend Judge Douglas the honor
of calling him such — advocating the present Democratic
policy, never himself says it is wrong. He has the
high distinction, so far as I know, of never having said
slavery is either right or wrong. Almost everybody
else says one or the other, but the Judge never does.
If there be a man in the Democratic party who thinks
it is wrong, and yet clings to that party, suggest to
him in the first place, that his leader don’t talk as he
does, for he never says that it is wrong. In the second
place, I suggest to him, that if he will examine the
policy proposed to be carried forward, he will find that
he carefully excludes the idea that there is anything
wrong in it. If you will examine the arguments that
are made on it, you will find that [every one carefully
excludes the idea that there is anything wrong in
slavery. Perhaps that Democrat who says that he is
as much opposed to slavery as I am, will tell me that I
am wrong about this. I wish him to examine his own
course in regard to this matter a moment, and then see
if his opinion will not be changed a little. You say it
is wrong; but don’t you constantly object to anybody
else saying so? Do you not constantly argue that this
is not the right place to oppose it? You say it must
not be opposed in the Free States, because slavery is
not here; it must not be opposed in the Slave States,
because it is there; it must not be opposed in politics,
because that will make a fuss; it must not be opposed
in the pulpit, because it is not religion. Then where
is the place to oppose it? There is no suitable place to
oppose it. There is no place in the country to oppose
this evil overspreading the continent, which you say

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 115

yourself is coming. Frank Blair^ and Gratz Brown^
tried to get up a system of gradual emancipation in
Missouri! had an election in August, and got beat, and
you, Mr. Democrat, threw’ up your hat and hallooed
“hurrah for Democracy.” So I say again, that in re-
gard to the arguments that are made, when Judge
Douglas says he * ‘don’t care whether slavery is voted
up or voted down,” whether he means that as an indi-
vidual expression of sentiment, or only as a sort of
statement of his views on national policy, it is alike
true to say that he can thus argue logically if he don’t
see anything wrong in it; but he cannot say so logically
if he admits that slavery is wrong. He cannot say
that he would as soon see a wrong voted up as voted
down. When Judge Douglas says that whoever or
whatever community wants slaves, they have a right to
have them, he is perfectly logical, if there is nothing
wrong in the institution; but if you admit that it is
wrong, he cannot logically say that anybody has a right
to do wrong. When he says that slave property and
horse and hog property are alike to be allowed to go
into the Territories, upon the principles of equality,
he is reasoning truly, if there is no difference between
them as property; but if the one is property held right-
fully, and the other is wrong, then there is no equality
between the right and wrong; so that, turn it in any
way you can, in all the arguments sustaining the Demo-

1 Francis P. Blair, Jr.. of Missouri, was a member of Congress at this time.
He later was a Major General in the Union Army, and was the Democratic
candidate for Vice-President in 1868.

1 B Gratz Brown at this time was a member of the State Legislature of
Missouri. He served in the Union army in the civil war, was United States
Senator from Missouri 1863-7, became Governor of Missouri in 1871, and was
candidate for Vice-President on the ticket with Horace Greeley in 1872,

116 ‘THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

cratic policy, and in that policy itself, there is a care^
fully studied exclusion of the idea that there is anything
wrong in slavery. Let us understand this. I am not,
just here, trying to prove that we are right, and they
are wrong. I have been stating where we and they
stand, and trying to show what is the real difference
between us; and I now say that whenever we can get
the question distinctly stated, can get all these men
who believe that slavery is in some of these respects
wrong, to stand and act with us in treating it as a
wrong, — then, and not till then, I think we will in
some way come to an end of this slavery agitation.

MR. DOUGLAS’S REPLY

Mr. Lincoln pretends that after 1 had so quoted those
resolutions^ he discovered that they had never been
adopted at Springfield. . . .

I will now show you that I stated with entire fair-
ness, as soon as it was made known to me, that there
was a mistake about the spot where the resolutions had
been adopted, although their truthfulness, as a decla-
ration of the principles of the Republican party, had
not and could not be questioned. I did not wait for
Lincoln to point out the mistake, but the moment I dis-
covered it, I made a speech, and published it to the
world, correcting the error. I corrected it myself, as
a gentleman and an honest man, and as I always feel
proud to do when I have made a mistake. I wish Mr.
Lincoln could show that he has acted with equal fair-
ness, and truthfulness, when I have convinced him that

1. Referring to the Resolutions given on page 21.

I

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 117

he has been mistaken. I will give you an illustration
to show you how he acts in a similar case: In a speech
at Springfield, he charged Chief Justice Taney and his
associates, President Pierce, President Buchanan, and
myself, with having entered into a conspiracy at the
time the Nebraska bill was introduced, by which the
Dred Scott decision was to be made by the Supreme
Court, in order to carry slavery everywhere under the
Constitution. I called his attention to the fact that at
the time alluded to, to wit, the introduction of the
Nebraska bill, it was not possible that such a conspir-
acy could have been entered into, for the reason that
the Dred Scott case had never been taken before the
Supreme Court, and was not taken before it for a year
after; and I asked him to take back that charge. Did
he do it? I showed him that it was impossible that
the charge could be true; I proved it by the record:
and I then called upon him to retract his false charge.
What was his answer? Instead of coming out like an
honest man and doing so, he reiterated the charge, and
said that if the case had not gone up to the Supreme
Court from the courts of Missouri at the time he
charged that the Judges of the Supreme Court entered
into the conspiracy, yet that there was an understand-
ing with the Democratic owners of Dred Scott that
they would take it up. I have since asked him who
the Democratic owners of Dred Scott were, but he
could not tell, and why? Because there were no such
Democratic owners in existence. Dred Scott at the
time was owned by the Rev. Dr. Chaffee, an Abolition
member of Congress, of Springfield, Massachusetts, in
right of his wife. He was owned by one of Lincoln’s

118 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

friends, and not by Democrats at all; his case was
conducted in court by Abolition lawyers, so that both
the prosecution and the defense were in the hands of
the Abolition political friends of Mr. Lincoln. Not-
withstanding I thus proved by the record that his
charge against the Supreme Court was false, instead of
taking it back, he resorted to another false charge to
sustain the infamy of it. He also charged President
Buchanan with having been a party to the conspiracy.
I directed his attention to the fact that the charge
could not possibly be true, for the reason, that at the
time specified, Mr. Buchanan was not in America, but
was three thousand miles off, representing the United
States at the Court of St. James, ^ and had been there
for a year previous, and did not return until three
years afterward. Yet I never could get Mr. Lincoln to
take back his false charge, although I have called upon
him over and over again. He refuses to do it, and
either remains silent, or resorts to other tricks to try
and palm his slander off on the country. Therein you
will find the difference between Mr. Lincoln and my-
self. When I make a mistake, as an honest man I cor-
rect it without being asked to do so; but when he
makes a false charge, he sticks to it, and never cor-
rects it. One word more in regard to these resolu-
tions: I quoted them at Ottawa merely to ask Mr.
Lincoln whether he stood on that platform. That was
the purpose for which I quoted them. I did not think
that I had a right to put idle questions to him, and I
first laid a foundation for my questions by showing
that the principles which I wished him either to affirm

1. That is, Great Britain.

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 119

or deny had been adopted by some portion of his friends,
at least, as their creed. Hence, I read the resolutions
and put the questions to him; and he then refused to
answer them. Subsequently, one week afterward, he
did answer a part of them, but the others he has not
answered up to this day. . . .

The Dred Scott decision was pronounced by the high-
est tribunal on earth. From that decision there is no
appeal this side of Heaven. Yet, Mr. Lincoln says he
is going to reverse that decision. By what tribunal
will he reverse it? Will he appeal to a mob? Does
he intend to appeal to violence, to lynch law? Will
he stir up strife and rebellion in the land, and over-
throw the court by violence? He does not deign to tell
you how he will reverse the Dred Scott decision, but
keeps appealing each day from the Supreme Court of
the United States to political meetings in the country.
He wants me to argue with you the merits of each
point of that decision before this political meeting. I
say to you, with all due respect, that I choose to abide
by the decisions of the Supreme Court as they are pro-
nounced. It is not for me to inquire, after a decision
is made, whether I like it in all the points or not.
When I used to practice law with Lincoln, I never knew
him to be beat in a case that he did not get mad at the
judge, and talk about appealing; and when I got beat,
I generally thought the court was wrong, but I never
dreamed of going out of the court house and making a
stump speech to the people against the judge, merely
because I had found out that I did not know the law as
well as he did. If the decision did not suit me, I ap-
pealed until I got to the Supreme Court; and then if

120 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAvS DEBATES

that court, the highest tribunal in the world, decided:
against me, I was satisfied, because it is the duty of]
every law-abiding man to obey the constitutions, the;
laws, and the constituted authorities. He who at-
tempts to stir up odium and rebellion in the country,
against the constituted authorities, is stimulating the
passions of men to resort to violence and to mobs in–
stead of to the law. Hence, 1 tell you that 1 take the
decisions of the Supreme Court as the law of the land,
and I intend to obey them as such.

But Mr. Lincoln says that I will not answer his ques-
tion as to what I would do in the event of the court
making so ridiculous a decision as he imagines they
would by deciding that the free State of Illinois could
not prohibit slavery within her own limits. I told himi
at Freeport why I would not answer such a question..
I told him that there was not a man possessing any|
brains in America, lawyer or not, who ever dreamed!
that such a thing could be done. I told him then, as li
do now, that by all the principles set forth in the Dred;
Scott decision, it is impossible. I told him then, as I(
do now, that it is an insult to men’s understanding,,
and a gross calumny on the court, to presume in ad-l
vance that it was going to degrade itself so low as to
make a decision known to be in direct violation of the
Constitution. . . .

If each State will only agree to mind its own busi-
ness and let its neighbors alone, there will be peace
forever between us. We in Illinois tried slavery when
a Territory, and found it was not good for us in this
climate, and with our surroundings, and hence we abol-
ished it. We then adopted a Free State Constitution,

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 121

as we had a right to do. In this State we have de-
clared that a negro shall not be a citizen, and we have
also declared that he shall not be a slave. We had a
right to adopt that policy. Missouri has just as good
a right to adopt the other policy. I am now speaking
of rights under the Constitution, and not of moral or
religious rights. I do not discuss the morals of the
people of Missouri, but let them settle that matter for
themselves. I hold that the people of the slaveholding
States are civilized men as well as ourselves, and that
they bear consciences as well as we, and that they are
accountable to God and their posterity, and not to us.
It is for them to decide, therefore, the moral and reli-
gious right of the slavery question for themselves,
within their own limits. I assert that they had as
much right under the Constitution to adopt the system
of policy which they have as we had to adopt ours. So
it is with every other State in this Union. Let each
State stand firmly by that great constitutional right,
let each State mind its own business and let its neigh-
bors alone, and there will be no trouble on this ques-
tion. If we will stand by that principle, then Mr. Lin-
coln will find that this Republic can exist forever, di-
vided into Free and Slave States, as our fathers made
it and the people of each State have decided. Stand
by that great principle, and we can go on as we have
done, increasing in wealth, in population, in power,
and in all the elements of greatness, until we shall be
the admiration and terror of the world. We can go
on and enlarge as our population increases, require
more room, until we make this continent one ocean-
bound republic. Under that principle the United

122 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

States can perform that great mission, that destiny,
which Providence has marked out for us. Under that
principle we can receive with entire safety that stream
of intelligence which is constantly flowing from the Old
World to the New, filling up our prairies, clearing our
wildernesses and building cities, towns, railroads, and
other internal improvements, and thus make this the
asylum of the oppressed of the whole earth. We have
this great mission to perform, and it can only be per-
formed by adhering faithfully to that principle of self-
government on which our institutions were all estab-
lished. I repeat that the principle is the right of each
State, each Territory, to decide this slavery question
for itself, to have slavery or not, as it chooses; and it
does not become Mr. Lincoln, or anybody else, to tell
the people of Kentucky that they have no consciences,
that they are living in a state of iniquity, and that
they are cherishing an institution to their bosoms in
violation of the law of God, Better for him to adopt
the doctrine of ** judge not, lest ye shall be judged.”
Let him perform his own duty at home, and he will
have a better fate in the future. I think there are ob-
jects of charity enough in the Free States to excite the
sympathies and open the pockets of all the benevolence
we have amongst us, without going abroad in search of
negroes, of whose condition we know nothing. We
have enough objects of charity at home, and it is our
duty to take care of our own poor and our own suffer-
ing, before we go abroad to intermeddle with other
people’s business.

My friends, I am told that my time is within two
minutes of expiring. I have omitted many topics that

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 123

I would like to have discussed before you at length.
There were many points touched by Mr. Lincoln that I
have not been able to take up for the want of time. I
have hurried over each subject that I have discussed as
rapidly as possible, so as to omit but few, but one hour
and a half is not time sufficient for a man to discuss at
length one half of the great questions which are now
dividing the public mind.

In conclusion, I desire to return to you my grateful
acknowledgements for the kindness and the courtesy
with which you have listened to me. It is something
remarkable that in an audience as vast as this, com-
posed of men of opposite politics and views, with their
passions highly excited, there should be so much cour-
tesy, kindness, and respect exhibited not only toward
one another, but toward the speakers; and I feel that
it is due to you that I should thus express my gratitude
for the kindness with which you have treated me.

MR. LINCOLN’S REJOINDER

My Friends: Since Judge Douglas has said to you in
his conclusion that he had not time in an hour and a
half to answer all I had said in an hour, it follows of
course that. I will not be able to answer in half an hour
all that he said in an hour and a half.

I wish to return to Judge Douglas my profound
thanks for his public annunciation here to-day, to be
put on record, that his system of policy in regard to
the institution of slavery contemplates that it shall last
forever. We are getting a little nearer the true issue
of this controversy, and I am profoundly grateful for

124 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

this one sentence. Judge Douglas asks you, **Why can-
not the institution of slavery, or rather, why cannot
the nation, part slave and part free, continue as our
fathers made it, forever?” In the first place, I insist
that our fathers did not make this nation half slave
and half free, or part slave and part free. I insist
that they found the institution of slavery existing here.
They did not make it so, but they left it so because
they knew no way to get rid of it at that time. When
Judge Douglas undertakes to say that, as a matter of
choice, the fathers of the Government made this nation
part slave and part free, he assumes what is histori-
cally a falsehood. More than that, when the fathers
of the Government cut off the source of slavery by the
abolition of the slave trade, and adopted a system of
restricting it from the new Territories where it had not
existed, I maintain that they placed it where they un-
derstood, and all sensible men understood, it was in
the course of ultimate extinction; and when Judge
Douglas asks me why it cannot continue as our fathers
made it, I ask him why he and his friends could not let
it remain as our fathers made it?

It is precisely all I ask of him in relation to the in-
stitution of slavery, that it shall be placed upon the
basis that our fathers placed it upon. Mr. Brooks,^
of South Carolina, once said, and truly said, that when
this Government was established, no one expected the
institution of slavery to last until this day, and that
the men who formed this Government were wiser and
better than the men of these days; but the men of
these days had experience which the fathers had not,

1. United States Senator P. W. Brooks, of South Carolina.

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 125

and that experience had taught them the invention of
the cotton-gin,^ and this had made the perpetuation of
the institution of slavery a necessity in this country.
Judge Douglas could not let it stand upon the basis upon
v^hich our fathers placed it, but removed it, and put it
upon the cotton-gin basis. It is a question, therefore,
for him and his friends to answer, why they could not
let it remain where the fathers of the Government orig-
inally placed it. . . .

The truth about the matter is this: Judge Douglas
has sung paeans to his * ‘Popular Sovereignty” doctrine
until his Supreme Court, cooperating with him, has
squatted his Squatter Sovereignty out.^ But he will
keep up this species of humbuggery about Squatter
Sovereignty. He has at last invented this sort of do-
nothing Sovereignty, — that the people may exclude
slavery by a sort of “Sovereignty” that is exercised
by doing nothing at all. Is not that running his Pop-
ular Sovereignty down awfully? Has it not got down
as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boil-
ing the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death?
But at last, when it is brought to the test of close rea-
soning, there is not even that thin decoction of it left.
It is a presumption impossible in the domain of thought.
It is precisely no other than the putting of that most
unphilosophical proposition, that two bodies can oc-
cupy the same space at the same time. The Dred Scott
decision covers the whole ground, and while it occu-

1. The invention of the cotton-gin by Eli Whitney in 1795 made slavery more
profitable and placed the opposition on an economic rather than an ethical

2. That is, the Dred Scott decision killed the theory of Squatter Sovereignty.

126 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

pies it, there is no room even for the shadow of a
starved pigeon to occupy the same ground ….

The Judge wants to know why I won’t withdraw the
charge in regard to a conspiracy to make slavery na-
tional, as he has withdrawn the one he made. May it
please his worship, I will withdraw it when it is proven
false on me as that was proven false on him. I will
add a little more than that. I will withdraw it when-
ever a reasonable man shall be brought to believe that
the charge is not true. 1 have asked Judge Douglas’s
attention to certain matters of fact tending to prove
the charge of a conspiracy to nationalize slavery, and
he says he convinces me that this is all untrue because
Buchanan was not in the country at that time, and be-
cause the Dred Scott case had not then got into the
Supreme Court; and he says that I say the Democratic
owners of Dred Scott got up the case. I never did say
that. I defy Judge Douglas to show that I ever said
so, for I never uttered it.

[One of Mr. Douglas’s reporters gesticulated affirm-
atively at Mr. Lincoln.]

1 don’t care if your hireling does say I did, I tell you
myself that I never said the ”Democratic” owners of
Dred Scott got up the case. I have never pretended to
know whether Dred Scott’s owners were Democrats, or
Abolitionists, or Free Soilers, or Border Ruffians.-^ I
have said that there is evidence about the case tending
to show that it was a made-up case, for the purpose of
getting that decision. I have said that that evidence

1. People who believed that the Territories should be admitted as free
states were known as Free Soilers, During the disturbances in Kansas Ter-
ritory, some emigrants came over from Missouri favoring slavery, and to
them the free soil residents gave the name of Border Ruffians.

SIXTH JOINT DEBATE 127

was very strong in the fact that when Dred Scott was
declared to be a slave, the owner of him made him
free, showing that he had had the case tried and the
question settled for such use as could be made of that
decision; he cared nothing about the property thus de-
clared to be his by that decision. But my time is out,
and I can say no more.

128 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE

Alton, October 15, 1858

SENATOR DOUGLAS’S SPEECH

Ladies and Gentlemen : It is now nearly four months
since the canvass between Mr. Lincoln and myself
commenced….

I hold that there is no power on earth, under our
system of Government, which has the right to force a
Constitution upon an unwilling people. . . .

Most of the men who denounced my course on the
Lecompton question objected to it, not because I was
not right, but because they thought it expedient at that
time, for the sake of keeping the party together, to
do wrong. . . .

But I am told that I would have been all right if I
had voted for the English bill^ after the Lecompton
measure was killed. You know a pardon was granted
to all political offenders on the Lecompton question,
provided they would only vote for the English bill. I
did not accept the benefits of that pardon, for the
reason that I had been right in the course I had pur-
sued, and hence did not require any forgiveness. Let
us see how the result has been worked out. English
brought in his bill referring the Lecompton Constitu-

1. The English bill for the admission of Kanse s, introduced in Congress by
Wm. H. English, of Indiana, is explained by Douglas in the lines which follow.

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 129

tion back to the people, with the provision that if it
was rejected, Kansas should be kept out of the Union
until she had the full ratio of population required for
a member of Congress,— thus in effect declaring that
if the people of Kansas would only consent to come
into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution, and
have a Slave State when they did not want it, they
should be admitted with a population of 35,000 ; but that
if they were so obstinate as to insist upon having just
such a constitution as they thought best, and to desire
admission as a Free State, then they should be kept out
until they had 93,420 inhabitants. I then said, and I
now repeat to you, that whenever Kansas has people
enough for a Slave State she has people enough for a
Free State. I was and am willing to adopt the rule
that no State shall ever come into the Union until she
has the full ratio of population for a member of Con-
gress, provided that rule is made uniform

Fellow-citizens, how have the supporters of the
English bill stood up to their pledges not to admit
Kansas until she obtained a population of 93,420 in
the event she rejected the Lecompton Constitution?
How? The newspapers inform us that English him-
self, whilst conducting his canvass for re-election, and
in order to secure it, pledged himself to his constit-
uents that if returned he would disregard his own bill,
and vote to admit Kansas into the Union with such popu-
lation as she might have when she made application.
We are informed that every Democratic candidate for
Congress in all the States where elections have recently
been held was pledged against the English bill, with
perhaps one or two exceptions. Now, if I had only

130 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

done as these anti-Lecompton men who voted for the
English bill in Congress, pledging themselves to refuse
to admit Kansas if she refused to become a Slave State
until she had a population of 93,420, and then returned
to their people, forfeited their pledge, and made a new
pledge to admit Kansas at any time she applied, with-
out regard to population, I would have had no trouble.
You saw the whole power and patronage of the Federal
Government wielded in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsyl-
vania to re-elect anti-Lecompton men to Congress who
voted against Lecompton, then voted for the English
bill, and then denounced the English bill, and pledged
themselves to their people to disregard it. My sin con-
sists in not having given a pledge, and then in not
having afterward forfeited it. For that reason, in this
State, every postmaster, every route agent, every col-
lector of the ports, and every Federal office-holder, for-
feits his head the moment he expresses a preference
for the Democratic candidates against Lincoln and his
Abolition associates. A Democratic Administration^
which we helped to bring into power, deems it consist-
ent with its fidelity to principle and its regard to duty
to wield its power in this State in behalf of the Re-
publican Abolition candidates, in every county and
every Congressional District against the Democratic
party. All I have to say in reference to the matter is,
that if that Administration have not regard enough
for principle, if they are not sufficiently attached to
the creed of the Democratic party, to bury forever
their personal hostilities in order to succeed in carry-

1. Douglas, a Democrat, had incurred the displeasure of Buchanan, a Dem-
ocratic president, on the Kansas question, because the senator refused to
support the Lecompton constitutor

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 131

ing out our glori9us principles, I have. I have no per-
sonal difficulty with Mr. Buchanan or his Cabinet. He
chose to make certain recommendations to Congress,
as he had a right to do, on the Lecompton question. I
could not vote in favor of them. I had as much right
to judge for myself how I should vote as he had how he
should recommend. He undertook to say to me, **If
you do not vote as I tell you, I will take off the heads
of your friends.” I replied to him, **You did not
elect me; I represent Illinois, and I am accountable to
Illinois, as my constituency, and to God; but not to the
President or to any other power on earth.”

And now this warfare is made on me because I would
not surrender my convictions of duty, because I would
not abandon my constituency, and receive the orders of
the executive authorities how I should vote in the Sen-
ate of the United States. I hold that an attempt to
control the Senate on the part of the Executive is sub-
versive of the principles of our Constitution. The Ex-
ecutive department is independent of the Senate, and
the Senate is independent of the President. In mat-
ters of legislation the President has a veto on the action
of the Senate, and in appointments and treaties the
Senate has a veto on the President. He has no more
right to tell me how I shall vote on his appointments
than I have to tell him whether he shall veto or ap-
prove a bill that the Senate has passed. Whenever you
recognize the right of the Executive to say to a Sen-
ator, **Do this, or I will take off the heads of your
friends,” you convert this Government from a republic
into a despotism. Whenever you recognize the right
of a President to say to a member of Congress, ‘ *Vote

132 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

as I tell you, or I will bring a power to bear against
you at home which will crush you,” you destroy the
independence of the Representative, and convert him
into a tool of Executive power. I resisted this invasion
of the constitutional rights of a Senator, and I intend
to resist it as long as I have a voice to speak or a vote
to give. Yet, Mr. Buchanan cannot provoke me to
abandon one iota of Democratic principles out of re-
venge or hostility to his course. I stand by the plat-
form of the Democratic party, and by its organization,
and support its nominees. If there are any who choose
to bolt, the fact only shows that they are not as good.
Democrats as I am ….

I hold that this Government was established on the
white basis. It was established by white men for the
benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and
should be administered by white men, and none others.
But it does not follow, by any means, that merely be-
cause the negro is not a citizen, and merely because he
is not our equal, that, therefore, he should be a slave.
On the contrary, it does follow that we ought to extend
to the negro race, and to all other dependent races, all
the rights, all the privileges, and all the immunities
which they can exercise consistently with the safety of
society. Humanity requires that we should give them
all these privileges; Christianity commands that we
should extend those privileges to them. The question
then arises, what are those privileges, and what is the
nature and extent of them. My answer is that that is
a question which each State must answer for itself. . . .
If the people of all the States will act on that great
principle, and each State mind its own business, attend

SEVENTH JCINT EEBAIE 133

to its own affairs, take care o’ \tF own negroes, and not
meddle with its neighbors, ther there will be peace be-
tween the North and South, the East and the West,
throughout the whole Union.

Why can we not thus have peace? Why should we
thus allow a sectional party to agitate this country, to
array the North against the South, and convert us into
enemies instead of friends, merely that a few ambi-
tious men may ride into power on a sectional hobby?
How long is it since these ambitious Northern men
wished for a sectional organization? Did any one of
them dream of a sectional party as long as the North
was the weaker section and the South the stronger?
Then all were opposed to sectional parties; but the
moment the North obtained the majority in the House
and Senate by the admission of California, and could
elect a President without the aid of Southern votes,
that moment ambitious Northern men formed a scheme
to excite the North against the South, and make the
people be governed in their votes by geographical lines,
thinking that the North, being the stronger section,
would outvote the South, and consequently they, the
leaders, would ride into office on a sectional hobby. I
am told that my hour is out. It was very short.

MR. LINCOLN’S REPLY

Ladies and Gentlemen: I have been somewhat, in
my own mind, complimented by a large portion of
Judge Douglas’s speech, — I mean that portion which
he devotes to the controversy between himself and the
present Administration. This is the seventh time Judge

134 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

Douglas and myself have met in these joint discussions,
and he has been gradually improving in regard to his
war with the Administration,. At Quincy, day before
yesterday, he was a little more severe upon the Ad-
ministration than I had heard him upon any occasion,
and I took pains to compliment him for it. I then told
him to “Give it to them with all the power he had;”
and as some of them were present, I told them I would
be very much obliged if they would give it to him in
about the same way. I take it he has now vastly im-
proved upon the attack he made then upon the Admin-
istration. I flatter myself he has really taken my ad-
vice on this subject. All I can say now is to recom-
mend to him and to them what I then commended, — to
prosecute the war against one another in the most vig-
orous manner. I say to them again: **Go it, husband!
—Go it, bear!”i

You have heard him frequently allude to my con-
troversy with him in regard to the Declaration of In-
dependence. . . .

At Galesburg, the other day, I said in answer to
Judge Douglas, that three years ago there never had
been a man, so far as I knew or believed, in the whole
world, who had said that the Declaration of Independ-
ence did not include negroes in the term “all men.” I
reassert it to-day. I assert that Judge Douglas and all
his friends may search the whole records of the coun-
try, and it will be a matter of great astonishment to
me if they shall be able to find that one human being

1. A local story current at the time about a woman who saw her worth-
less husband attacked by a bear. She refused to help either man or bear,
trusting that each would kill the other.

SEVFNTH JOINT DEBATE 135

three years ago had ever uttered the astounding senti-
ment, that the term “all men*’ in the Declaration did
not include the negro. Do not let me be misunder-
stood. I know that more than three years ago there
were men who, finding this assertion constantly in the
way of their schemes to bring about the ascendency and
perpetuation of slavery, denied the truth of it. I know
that Mr. Calhoun and all the politicians of his school
denied the truth of the Declaration. I know that it
ran along in the mouth of some Southern men for a
period of years, ending at last in that shameful, though
rather forcible declaration of Pettit^ of Indiana, upon
the floor of the United States Senate, that the Declar-
ation of Independence was in that respect “a self-evi-
dent lie,” rather than a self-evident truth. But I say,
with a perfect knowledge of all this hawking at the
Declaration without directly attacking it, that three
years ago there never had lived a man who had ven-
tured to assail it in the sneaking way of pretending to
believe it, and then asserting it did not include the
negro. I believe the first man who ever said it was
Chief Justice Taney in the Dred Scott case, and the next
to him was our friend Stephen A. Douglas. And now
it has become the catchword of the entire party. . . .

And when this new principle — this new proposition
that no human being ever thought of three years ago —
is brought forward, I combat it as having an evil tend-
ency, if not an evil design. I combat it as having a
tendency to dehumanize the negro, to take away from
him the right of ever striving to be a man. I combat

1. Hon. John Pettit, of Indiana, was U. S. Senator, 1853-5, and later was
appointed by President Buchanan chief justice of Kansas Territory.

136 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

it as being one of the thousand things constantly done
in these days to prepare the public mind to make prop-
erty, and nothing but property, of the negro in all the
States of this Union. . . .

Judge Douglas has again referred to a Springfield
speech in which I said **a house divided against itself
cannot stand.” The Judge has so often made the en-
tire quotation from that speech that I can make it from
memory. I used this language:—

We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was ini-
tiated with the avowed object and confident promise of put-
ting an end to the slavery agitation. Under the operation
of this policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but
has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not cease
until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. *’A house
divided against itself cannot stand. ” I believe this Govern-
ment cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free.
I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will
cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the
other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the
further spread of it, and place it where the public mind
shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate
extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall
become alike lawful in all the States, — old as well as new,
North as well as South.

That extract and the sentiments expresed in it have
been extremely offensive to Judge Douglas. He has
warred upon them as Satan wars upon the Bible. His
perversions upon it are endless. Here now are my
views upon it in brief.

I said we were now far into the fifth year since a
policy was initiated with the avowed object and con-
fident promise of putting an end to the slavery agita-
tion. Is it not so? When that Nebraska bill was

I

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 137

brought forward four years ago last January, was it
not for the * ‘avowed object” of putting an end to the
slavery agitation? We were to have no more agitation
in Congress; it was all to be banished to the Terri-
tories. By the way, I will remark here that, as Judge
Douglas is very fond of complimenting Mr. Crittenden^
in these days, Mr. Crittenden has said there was a false-
hood in that whole business, for there was no slavery
agitation at that time to allay. We were for a little
while quiet on the troublesome thing, and that very
allaying plaster of Judge Douglas’s stirred it up again.
But was it not understood or intimated, with the *’con-
fident promise” of putting an end to the slavery agita-
tion? Surely it was. In every speech you heard Judge
Douglas make, until he got into this ‘Mmbroglio,” as
they call it, with the Administration about the Lecomp-
ton Constitution, every speech on that Nebraska bill was
full of his felicitation that we were just at the end of
the slavery agitation. The last tip of the last joint of
the old serpent’s tail was just drawing out of view.
But has it proved so? I have asserted that under that
policy that agitation **has not only not ceased, but has
constantly augmented.” When was there ever a greater
agitation in Congress than last winter? When was it
as great in the country as to-day.

There was a collateral object in the introduction of
that Nebraska policy, which was to clothe the people
of the Territories with a superior degree of self-govern-
ment, beyond what they had ever had before. The first
object and the main one of conferring upon the people
a higher degree of * ^self-government” is a question of

1. Senator John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky,

138 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

fact, to be determined by you in answer to a single
question. Have you ever heard or known of a people
anywhere on earth who had as little to do as, in the
first instance of its use, the people of Kansas had with
this same right of “self-government?” In its main
policy and in its collateral object, it has been nothing
but a living, creeping lie from the time of its intro-
duction till to-day.

I have intimated that I thought the agitation would
not cease until a crisis should have been reached and
passed. I have stated in what way I thought it would
be reached and passed. I have said that it might go
one way or the other. We might, by arresting the fur-
ther spread of it, and placing it where the fathers ori-
ginally placed it, put it where the public mind should
rest in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate
extinction. Thus the agitation may cease. It may be
pushed forward until it shall become alike lawful in all
the States, old as well as new. North as well as South.
I have said, and I repeat, my wish is that the further
spread of it may be arrested, and that it may be placed
where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is
in the course of ultimate extinction. I have expressed
that as my wish. I entertain the opinion, upon evidence
sufficient to my mind, that the fathers of this Govern-
ment placed ^hat institution where the public mind did
rest in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate
extinction. Let me ask why they made provision that
the source of slavery — the African slave trade — should
be cut off at the end of twenty years? Why did they
make provision that in all the new territory we owned
at that time slavery should be forever inhibited? Why

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 139

stop its spread in one direction, and cut off its source
in another, if they did not look to its being placed in
the course of ultimate extinction?

Again: the institution of slavery is only mentioned
in the Constitution of the United States two or three
times, and in neither of these cases does the word
“slavery” or **negro race” occur; but covert language
is used each time, and for a purpose full of signifi-
cance. What is the language in regard to the prohibition
of the African slave-trade? It runs in about this way: —

The migration or importation of such persons as any of
the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall
not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one
thousand eight hundred and eight.

The next allusion in the Constitution to the question
of slavery and the black race, is on the subject of the basis
of representation, and there the language used is: —

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned
among the several States which may be included within this
Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall
be determined by adding to the whole number of free per-
sons, including those bound to service for a term of years,
and excluding Indians not taxed, — three-fifths of all other
persons.

It says “persons,” not slaves, not negroes; but this
“three-fifths” can be applied to no other class among
us than the negroes.

Lastly, in the provision for the reclamation of fugi-
tive slaves, it is said: —

No person held to service or labor in one State, under the
laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of
any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such ser-
vice or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the
party to whom such service or labor may be due.

140 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

There again there is no mention of the word “negro,’*
or of slavery. In all three of these places, being the only
allusions to slavery in the instrument, covert language
is used. Language is used not suggesting that slavery
existed or that the black race were among us. And I un-
derstand the contemporaneous history of those times to
be that covert language w^s used with a purpose, and
that purpose was that in our Constitution, which it was
hoped and is still hoped will endure forever, — when it
should be read by intelligent and patriotic men, after
the institution of slavery had passed from among us,
— there should be nothing on the face of the great
charter of liberty suggesting that such a thing as negro
slavery had ever existed among us. This is part of the
evidence that the fathers of the Government expected
and intended the institution of slavery to come to an
end. They expected and intended that it should be in
the course of ultimate extinction. And when I say
that I desire to see the further spread of it arrested, I
only say I desire to see that done which the fathers have
first done. When I say I desire to see it placed where
the public mind will rest in the belief that it is in the
course of ultimate extinction, I only say I desire to see
it placed where they placed it. It is not true that our
fathers, as Judge Douglas assumes, made this Govern-
ment part slave and part free. Understand the sense
in which he puts it. He assumes that slavery is a
rightful thing within itself, — was introduced by the
framers of the Constitution. The exact truth is, that
they found the institution existing among us, and they
left it as they found it. But in making the Govern-
ment they left this institution with many clear marks

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 141

of disapprobation upon it. They found slavery among
them, and they left it among them because of the diffi-
culty — the absolute impossibility — of its immediate re-
moval. And when Judge Douglas asks me why we
cannot let it remain part slave and part free, as the
fathers of the Government made it, he asks a question
based upon an assumption which is itself a falsehood;
and I turn upon him and ask him the question, when
the policy that the fathers of the Government had
adopted in relation to this element among us was the
best policy in the world, the only wise policy, the only
policy that we can ever safely continue upon, that will
ever give us peace, unless this dangerous element mas-
ters us all and becomes a national institution, — I turn
upon him and ask him why he could not leave it alone.
I turn and ask him why he was driven to the necessity
of introducing a new policy in regard to it. He has
himself said he introduced a new policy. He said so in
his speech on the 22d of March of the present year, 1858.
1 ask him why he could not let it remain where our fa-
thers placed it. I ask, too, of Judge Douglas and his
friends, why we shall not again place this institution up-
on the basis on which the fathers left it. I ask you, when
he infers that I am in favor of setting the Free and Slave
States at war, when the institution was placed in that at-
titude by those who made the Constitution, did they
make any war? If we had no war out of it when thus
placed, wherein is the ground of belief that we shall
have war out of it if we return to that policy? Have we
had any peace upon this matter springing from any other
basis? I maintain that we have not. I have proposed
nothing more than a return to the policy of the fathers.

142 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

I confess, when I propose a certain measure of policy,
it is not enough for me that I do not intend anything
evil in the result, but it is incumbent on me to show
that it has not a tendency to that result. I have met
Judge Douglas in that point of viev/. I have not only
made the declaration that I do not mean to produce a
conflict between the States, but I have tried to show
by fair reasoning, and I think I have shown to the
minds of fair men, that I propose nothing but what
has a most peaceful tendency. The quotation that I
happened to make in that Springfield speech, that **a
house divided against itself cannot stand,” and which
has proved so offensive to the Judge, was part and par-
cel of the same thing. He tries to show that variety
in the domestic institutions of the different States is
necessary and indispensable. I do not dispute it. I
have no controversy with Judge Douglas about that.
I shall very readily agree with him that it would be
foolish for us to insist upon having a cranberry law
here in Illinois where we have no cranberries, because
they have a cranberry law in Indiana, where they have
cranberries. I should insist that it would be exceed-
ingly wrong in us to deny to Virginia the right to en-
act oyster laws, where they have oysters, because we
want no such laws here. I understand, I hope, quite
as well as Judge Douglas or anybody else, that the
variety in the soil and climate and face of the country,
and consequent variety in the industrial pursuits and
productions of a country, require systems of law con-
forming to this variety in the natural features of the
country. I understand quite as well as Judge Douglas,
that if we here raise a barrel of flour more than we

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 143*

want, and the Louisianians raise a barrel of sugar more
than they want, it is of mutual advantage to exchange.
That produces commerce, brings us together, and makes
us better friends. We like one another the more for
it. And I understand as well as Judge Douglas, or
anybody else, that these mutual accommodations are
the cements which bind together the different parts of
this Union; that instead of being a thing to “divide
the house,*’ — figuratively expressing the Union, — they
tend to sustain it; they are the props of the house,
tending always to hold it up.

But when I have admitted all this, I ask if there is
any parallel between these things and this institution
of slavery. I do not see that there is any parallel at all
between them. Consider it. When have we had any
difficulty or quarrel amongst ourselves about the cran-
berry laws of Indiana, or the oyster laws of Virginia,
or the pine-lumber laws of Maine, or the fact that
Louisiana produces sugar, and Illinois flour? When
have we had any quarrels over these things? When
have we had perfect peace in regard to this thing which
I say is an element of discord in this Union. We have
sometimes had peace, but when was it? It was when
the institution of slavery remained quiet where it was.
We have had difficulty and turmoil whenever it has
made a struggle to spread itself where it was not. I
ask, then, if experience does not speak in thunder-
tones, telling us that the policy which has given peace
to the country heretofore, being returned to, gives the
greatest promise of peace again. You may say, and
Judge Douglas has intimated the same thing, that all
this difficulty in regard to the institution of slavery is

144 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

the mere agitation of office-seekers and ambitious
northern politicians. He thinks we want to get **his
place,’* I suppose. I agree that there are office-seekers
amongst us. The Bible says somewhere that we are
desperately selfish. I think we would have discovered
that fact without the Bible. I do not claim that I am
any less so than the average of men, but I do claim that
I am not more selfish than Judge Douglas.

But is it true that all the difficulty and agitation we
have in regard to this institution of slavery springs
from office-seeking, from the mere ambition of politi-
cians? Is that the truth? How many times have we
had danger from this question? Go back to the day of
the Missouri Compromise. Go back to the Nullification
question, at the bottom of which lay this same slavery
question. Go back to the time of the annexation of
Texas. Go back to the troubles that led to the Com-
promise of 1850. You will find that every time, with
the single exception of the Nullification question, they
sprung from an endeavor to spread this institution.
There never was a party in the history of this country,
and there probaoly never will be, of sufficient strength
to disturb the general peace of the country. Parties
themselves may be divided and quarrel on minor ques-
tions, yet it extends not beyond the parties themselves.
But does not this question make a disturbance outside
of political circles? Does it not enter into the churches
and rend them asunder? What divided the great
Methodist church into two parts. North and South?
What has raised this constant disturbance in every
Presbyterian General Assembly that meets? What dis-
turbed the Unitarian Church in this very city two years

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 145

ago? What has jarred and shaken the great American
Tract Society recently, not yet splitting it, but sure to
divide it in the end? Is it not this same mighty, deep-
seated power that somehow operates on the minds of
men, exciting and stirring them up in every avenue of
society, — in politics, in religion, in literature, in
morals, in all the manifold relations of life? Is this
the work of politicians? Is that irresistible power,
which for fifty years has shaken the Government and
agitated the people, to be stilled and subdued by pre-
tending that it is an exceedingly simple thing, and we
ought not to talk about it? If you will get everybody
else to stop talking about it, I assure you I will quit
before they have half done so. But where is the phi-
losophy or statesmanship which assumes that you can
quiet that disturbing element in our society which has
disturbed us for more than half a century, which has
been the only serious danger that has threatened our
institutions, — I say, where is the philosophy or the
statesmanship based on the assumption that we are to
quit talking about it, and that the public mind is all
at once to cease being agitated by it! Yet this is the
policy here in the North that Douglas is advocating, —
that we are to care nothing about it! I ask you if it
is not a false philosophy? Is it not a false statesman-
ship that undertakes to build up a system of policy upon
the basis of caring nothing about the very thing that
everybody does care the most about? — a thing which
all experience has shown we care a very great deal
about?

The Judge alludes very often in the course of his re-
marks to the exclusive right which the States have to

146 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

decide the whole thing for themselves. I agree with
him very readily that the different States have that
right. . . . What I insist upon is, that the new Terri-
tories shall be kept free from it while in the Territorial
condition. Judge Douglas assumes that we have no
interest in them, — that we have no right whatever to
interfere. I think we have some interest. I think
that as white men we have. Do we not wish for an
outlet for our surplus population, if I may so express
myself? Do we not feel an interest in getting to that
outlet with such institutions as we would like to have
prevail there? If you go to a Territory opposed to
slavery, and another man comes upon the same ground
with his slave, upon the assumption that the things are
equal, it turns out that he has the equal right all his
way, and you have no part of it your way. If he goes
in and makes it a Slave Territory, and, by consequence,
a Slave State, is it not time that those who desire to
have it a Free State were on equal ground? Let me
suggest it in a different way. How many Democrats
are there about here [**A thousand.”] who have left
Slave States and come into the Free State of Illinois to
get rid of the institution of slavery? [Another voice:
“A thousand and one.”] I reckon there are a thou-
sand and one. I will ask you, if the policy you are
now advocating had prevailed when this country was in
a Territorial condition, where would you have gone to
get rid of it? Where would you have found your Free
State or Territory to go to? And when hereafter, for
any cause, the people in this place shall desire to find
new homes, if they wish to be rid of the institution,
where will they find the place to go to?

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 147

Now, irrespective of the moral aspect of this ques-
tion as to whether there is a right or wrong in enslav-
ing a negro, I am still in favor of our new Territories
being in such a condition that white men may find a
home, — may find some spot where they can better their
condition; where they can settle upon new soil and
better their condition in life. I am in favor of this,
not merely (I must say it here as I have elsewhere) for
our own people who are born amongst us, but as an
outlet for free white people everywhere, the world over,
— in which Hans, and Baptiste, and Patrick, and all
other men from all the world, may find new homes and
better their conditions in life.

I understand I have ten minutes yet. I will employ
it in saying something about this argument Judge
Douglas uses, while he sustains the Dred Scott decision,
that the people of the Territories can still somehow ex-
clude slavery. The first thing I ask attention to is the
fact that Judge Douglas constantly said, before the de-
cision, that whether they could or not was a question
for the Supreme Court. But after the court has made
the decision he virtually says it is not a question for
the Supreme Court, but for the people. And how is
it he tells us they can exclude it? He says it needs
“police regulations,” and that it admits of “unfriendly
legislation.” Although it is a right established by the
Constitution of the United States to take a slave into
a Territory of the United States and hold him as prop-
erty, yet unless the Territorial Legislature will give
friendly legislation, and, more especially, if they adopt
unfriendly legislation, they can practically exclude him.
Now, without meeting this proposition as a matter of

148 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

fact, I pass to consider the real constitutional obliga-
tion. Let me take the gentleman who looks me in the
face before me, and let us suppose that he is a member
of the Territorial Legislature. The first thing he will
do will be to swear that he will support the Constitu-
tion of the United States. His neighbor by his side
in the Territory has slaves and needs Territorial legis-
lation to enable him to enjoy that constitutional right.
Can he withhold the legislation which his neighbor
needs for the enjoyment of a right which is fixed in his
favor in the Constitution of the United States which
he has sworn to support? Can he withhold it without
violating his oath? And, more especially, can he pass
unfriendly legislation to violate his oath. Why, this
is a monstrous sort of talk about the Constitution of
the United States! There has never been as outlandish
or lawless a doctrine from the mouth of any respect-
able man on earth. I do not believe it is a constitu-
tional right to hold slaves in a Territory of the United
States. I believe the decision was improperly made. I
go for reversing it. Judge Douglas is furious against
those who go for reversing a decision. But he is for
legislating it out of all force while the law itself stands.
I repeat that there has never been so monstrous a doc-
trine uttered from the mouth of a respectable man.

I suppose most of us (I know it of myself) believe
that the people of the Southern States are entitled to a
Congressional Fugitive Slave law, — that is a right fixed
in the Constitution. But it cannot be made available
to them without Congressional legislation. In the
Judge’s language, it is a “barren right, *’ which needs
legislation before it can become eflicient and valuable

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 149

to the persons to whom it is guaranteed. And as the
right is constitutional, I agree that the legislation shall
be granted to it, — and that not that we like the insti-
tution of slavery. We profess we have no taste for
running and catching niggers, — at least, I profess no
taste for that job at all. Why then do I yield support
to a Fugitive Slave law? Because I do not understand
that the Constitution, which guarantees that right, can
be supported without it. And if I believed that the
right to hold a slave in a Territory was equally fixed
in the Constitution with the right to reclaim fugitives,
I should be bound to give it the legislation necessary
to support it. I say that no man can deny his obliga-
tion to give the necessary legislation to support slavery
in a Territory, who believes it is a constitutional right
to have it there. No man can, who does not give the
Abolitionists an argument to deny the obligation en-
joined by the Constitution to enact a Fugitive Slave
law. Try it now. It is the strongest Abolition argu-
ment ever made. I say, if that Dred Scott decision is
correct, then the right to hold slaves in a Territory is
equally a constitutional right with the right of a slave-
holder to have his runaway returned. No one can show
the distinction between them. The one is express, so
that we cannot deny it. The other is construed to be
in the Constitution, so that he who believed the de-
cision to be correct believes in the right. And the man
who argues that by unfriendly legislation, in spite of
that constitutional right, slavery may be driven from
the Territories, cannot avoid furnishing an argument
by which Abolitionists may deny the obligation to re-
turn fugitives, and claim the power to pass laws un-

150 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

friendly to the right of the slaveholder to reclaim his
fugitive. I do not know how such an argument may
strike a popular assembly like this, but I defy anybody
to go before a body of men whose minds are educated
to estimating evidence and reasoning, and show that
there is an iota of difference between the constitutional
right to reclaim a fugitive, and the constitutional right
to hold a slave, in a Territory, provided this Dred Scott
decision is correct. I defy any man to make an argu-
ment that will justify unfriendly legislation to de-
prive a slaveholder of his right to hold his slave in a
Territory, that will not equally, in all its length,
breadth, and thickness, furnish an argument for nulli-
fying the Fugitive Slave law. Why, there is not such
an Abolitionist in the nation as Douglas, after all.

MR. DOUGLAS’S REPLY

Mr. Lincoln has concluded his remarks by saying that
there is not such an Abolitionist as I am in all America.
If he could make the Abolitionists of Illinois believe
that, he would not have much show for the Senate.
Let him make the Abolitionists believe the truth of
that statement, and his political back is broken.

His first criticism upon me is the expression of his
hope that the war of the Administration will be prose-
cuted against me and the Democratic party of this State
with vigor. He wants that war prosecuted with vigor;
I have no doubt of it. His hopes of success and the
hopes of his party depend solely upon it. They have
no chance of destroying the Democracy of this State
except by the aid of Federal patronage. He has all the

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 151

Federal officeholders here as his allies, running separate
tickets against the Democracy to divide the party, al-
though the leaders all intend to vote directly the Abo-
lition ticket, and only leave the greenhorns to vote this
separate ticket who refuse to go into the Abolition
camp. There is something really refreshing in the
thought that Mr. Lincoln is in favor of prosecuting
one war vigorously. It is the first war I ever knew
him to be in favor of prosecuting. It is the first war
I ever knew him to believe to be just or constitutional.
When the Mexican War was being waged, and the
American army was surrounded by the enemy in Mex-
ico, he thought that war was unconstitutional, un-
necessary, and unjust. He thought it was not com-
menced on the right spot.

When I made an incidental allusion of that kind in
the joint discussion over at Charleston some weeks ago,
Lincoln, in replying, said that I, Douglas, had charged
him with voting against supplies for the Mexican War,
and then reared up, full length, and swore that he
never voted against the supplies; that it was a slander,
and caught hold of Ficklin,^ who sat on the stand, and
said, **Here, Ficklin, tell the people that it is a lie.”
Well, Ficklin, who had served in Congress with him,
stood up and told them all that he recollected about it.
It was that, when George Ashmun,’^ of Massachusetts,
brought forward a resolution declaring the war un-
constitutional, unnecessary, and unjust, that Lincoln
had voted for it. ”Yes,” said Lincoln, “I did.” Thus

1. Orlando B. Ficklin, of Coles county, Illinois, served with Lincoln in the
state Legislature and in Congress.

2, George Ashmun, a member of Congress from Massachusetts,

152 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

he confessed that he voted that the war was wrong,
that our country was in the wrong, and consequently
that the Mexicans were in the right; but charged that
I had slandered him by saying that he voted against
the supplies. I never charged him with voting against
the supplies in my life, because I knew that he was not
in Congress when they were voted. The war was com-
menced on the 13th day of May, 1846, and on that day
we appropriated in Congress ten millions of dollars and
fifty thousand men to prosecute it. During the same
session we voted more men and more money, and at
the next session we voted more men and more money,
so that by the time Mr. Lincoln entered Congress we
had enough men and enough money to carry on the
war, and had no occasion to vote for any more. When
he got into the House, being opposed to the war, and
not being able to stop the supplies, because they had
all gone forward, all he could do was to follow the
lead of Corwin,* and prove that the war was not begun
on the right spot, and that it was unconstitutional,
unnecessary, and wrong. “^ Remember, too, that this
he did after the war had been begun. It is one thing
to be opposed to the declaration of a war, another and
very different thing to take sides with the enemy
against your own country after the war has been com-
menced. Our army was in Mexico at the time, many
battles had been fought; our citizens, who were de-
fending the honor of their country’s flag, were sur-

1. Thomas Corwin, of Ohio, a member of Congress, was a Whig leader who
led the opposition to the Mexican War declared by a Democratic administra-
tion.

2, The doubt of these Whig leaders concerning the justification of the war
on Mexico has been gradually growing in the opinion of the American people
since that day.

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 153

rounded by the daggers, the guns, and the poison of
the enemy. Then it was that Corwin made his speech
in which he declared that the American soldiers ought
to be welcomed by the Mexicans with bloody hands to
hospitable graves; then it was that Ashmun and Lin-
coln voted in the House of Representatives that the war
was unconstitutional and unjust; and Ashmun’s resolu-
tion, Corwin’s speech, and Lincoln’s vote were sent to
Mexico and read at the head of the Mexican army, to
prove to them that there was a Mexican party in the
Congress of the United States who were doing all in
their power to aid them. That a man takes sides with
the common enemy against his own country in time of
war should rejoice in a war being made on me now, is
very natural. And, in my opinion, no other kind of a
man would rejoice in it. . . .

Mr. Lincoln told you that the slavery question was
the only thing that ever disturbed the peace and har-
mony of the Union. Did not Nullification^ once raise
its head and disturb the peace of this Union in 1832?
Was that the slavery question, Mr. Lincoln? Did not
disunion raise its monster head during the last war
with Great Britain? Was that the slavery question,
Mr. Lincoln? The peace of this country has been dis-
turbed three times, once during the war with Great
Britain, once on the tariff question, and once on the

1 The theory so strongly advocated by Calhoun that any state has the
right to declare null and void within its boundaries any United States law
which the State thinks unconstitutional. In 1832 South Carolina declared
that the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 were null and void, and that if the bed-
eralGoverment tried to enforce them in that State, the State would with-
draw from the Union. President Jackson declared that he would use force
to administer the law. but before this became necessary a new tariff act more
favorable to the South was enacted.

154 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

slavery question. His argument, therefore, that slav-
ery is the only question that has ever created dissen-
sion in the Union falls to the ground. It is true that
agitators are enabled now to use this slavery question
for the purpose of sectional strife. He admits that in
regard to all things else, the principle that I advocate,
making each State and Territory free to decide for it-
self, ought to prevail. He instances the cranberry laws
and the oyster laws, and he might have gone through
the whole list with the same effect. I say that all these
laws are local and domestic, and that local and domes-
tic concerns should be left to each State and each Ter-
ritory to manage for itself. If agitators would ac-
quiesce in that principle, there never would be any
danger to the peace and harmony of the Union.

Mr. Lincoln tries to avoid the main issue by attack-
ing the truth of my proposition, that our fathers made
this Government divided into Free and Slave States,
recognizing the right of each to decide all its local
questions for itself. Did they not thus make it? It is
true that they did not establish slavery in any of the
States, or abolish it in any of them; but finding thir-
teen States, twelve of which were slave and one free,
they agreed to form a Government uniting them to-
gether as they stood, divided into Free and Slave
States, and to guarantee forever to each State the right
to do as it pleased on the slavery question. Having
thus made the Government, and conferred this right
upon each State forever, I assert that this Government
can exist as they made it, divided into Free and Slave
States, if any one State chooses to retain slavery. He
says that he looks forward to a time when slavery shall

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 155

be abolished everywhere. I look forward to a time
when each State shall be allowed to do as it pleases.
If it chooses to keep slavery forever, it is not my busi-
ness, but its own; if it chooses to abolish slavery, it is
its own business, — not mine. I care more for the
great principle of self-government, the right of the
people to rule, than I do for all the negroes in Chris-
tendom. I would not endanger the perpetuity of this
Union, I would not blot out the great inalienable rights
of the white men, for all the negroes that ever existed.
Hence, I say, let us maintain this Government on the
principles that our fathers made it, recognizing the
right of each State to keep slavery as long as its people
determine, or to abolish it when they please. But Mr.
Lincoln says that when our fathers made this Govern-
ment they did not look forward to the state of things
now existing, and therefore he thinks the doctrine was
wrong; and he quotes Brooks, of South Carolina, to
prove that our fathers then thought that probably
slavery would be abolished by each State acting for
itself before this time. Suppose they did; suppose
they did not foresee what has occurred, — does that
change the principles of our Government? They did
not probably foresee the telegraph that transmits intel-
ligence by lightning, nor did they foresee the railroads
that now form the bonds of union between the different
States, or the thousand mechanical inventions that have
elevated mankind. But do these things change the
principles of the Government? Our fathers, I say,
made this Government on the principle of the right of
each State to do as it pleases in its own domestic
affairs, subject to the Constitution, and allowed the

156 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

people of each to apply to every new change of circum-
stances such remedy as they may see fit to improve
their condition: This right they have for all time to
come.

Mr. Lincoln went on to tell you that he does not at
all desire to interfere with slavery in the States where
it exists, nor does his party. I expected him to say
that down here. Let me ask him, then, how he ex-
pects to put slavery in the course of ultimate extinction
everywhere, if he does not intend to interfere with it
in the States where it exists? He says that he will
prohibit it in all Territories, and the inference is, then,
that unless they make Free States out of them he will
keep them out of the Union; for, mark you, he did not
say whether or not he would vote to admit Kansas with
slavery or not, as her people might apply (he forgot
that, as usual, etc.); he did not say whether or not he
was in favor of bringing the Territories now in exist-
ence into the Union on the principle of Clay’s Compro-
mise measures on the slavery question. I told you that
he would not. His idea is that he will prohibit slavery
in all the Territories, and thus force them all to be-
come Free States, surrounding the Slave States with a
cordon of Free States, and hemming them in, keeping
the slaves confined to their present limits whilst they
go- on multiplying, until the soil on which they live
will no longer feed them, and he will thus be able to
put slavery in a course of ultimate extinction by star-
vation. He will extinguish slavery in the Southern
States as the French general exterminated the Alge-
rines when he smoked them out. He is going to ex-
tinguish slavery by surrounding the Slave States, hem-

SEVENTH JOINT DEBATE 157

ming in the slaves, and starving them out of existence,
as you smoke a fox out of his hole. He intends to do
that in the name of humanity and Christianity, in
order that we may get rid of the terrible crime and sin
entailed upon our fathers of holding slaves. Mr. Lin-
coln makes out that line of policy, and appeals to the
moral sense of justice and to the Christian feeling of
the community to sustain him. He says that any man
who holds to the contrary doctrine is in the position of
the king who claimed to govern by divine right. Let
us examine for a moment and see what principle it was
that overthrew the divine right of George the Third to
govern us. Did not these Colonies rebel because the
British Parliament had no right to pass laws concern-
ing our property and domestic and private institutions
without our consent! We demanded that the British
Government should not pass such laws unless they gave
us representation in the body passing them; and this
the British government insisting on doing, we went to
war, on the principle that the Home Government should
not control and govern distant colonies without giving
them a representation. Now, Mr Lincoln proposes to
govern the Territories without giving them a repre-
sentation, and calls on Congress to pass laws controlling
their property and domestic concerns without their
consent and against their will. Thus, he asserts for
his party the identical principle asserted by George HI
and the Tories of the Revolution. . . .

My friends, if, as I have said before, we will only
live up to this great fundamental principle, there will
be peace between the North and the South. Mr. Lin-
coln admits that, under the Constitution, on all domes-

158 THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES

tic questions except slavery, we ought not to interfere
with the people of each State. What right have we to
interfere with slavery any more than we have to inter-
fere with any other question? He says that this slav-
ery question is now the bone of contention. Why?
Simply because agitators have combined in all the Free
States to make war upon it. Suppose the agitators in
the States should combine in one-half of the Union to
make war upon the railroad system of the other half?
They would thus be driven to the same sectional strife.
Suppose one section makes w^r upon any other peculiar
institution of the opposite section, and the same strife
is produced. The only remedy and safety is that we
shall stand by the Constitution as our fathers made it,
obey the laws as they are passed, while they stand the
proper test, and sustain the decisions of the Supreme
Court and the constituted authorities.

EXCELSIOR LITERATURE SERIES-Continued

31. Idylls of the King. Alfred Tennyson. (The Comingr of Arthur, Gareth and
Lynette, Lancelot and Elaine, The Passing: of Arthur. ) Edited by Cyrus Lauron
Hooper. Thomas C. Blaisdell, Ph.D., LL.D., Supervising Editor. Biographical
sketch, introduction, notes and questions for study, critical comments, and pro-
nouncing: vocabulary. 160 pagres ISc.

33. Silas Mamer. George Eliot. Biographical sketch, notes, and questions for
study on each chapter ; critical comments, and biography. The most complete
edition published for class study. Edited by Hiram R. Wilson, State Normal Col-
lege, Athens, Ohio. Thomas C. Blaisdell, Ph.D., LL.D., Supervising Editor. .20c.

34. Silas Mamer. George Eliot. Same as above, cloth bindiner 35c.

35. Lady of the Lake. Sir Walter Scott. Contains map. biographical sketch,
the reign and character of James V from “Tales of a Grandfather,” pronouncing
v^ocabulary, and comprehensive notes, by Barbara A. MacLeod, teacher of English.
HighSchool, Dansville, N. Y 15c.

37. Literature of the Bible. Matthias R. Heilig, A.M. This is a scholarly,
familiar, and reverential treatment of the Bible, purely from a literary view-point.
A.8 the author says : “Whatever one’s attitude is towards the Bible, he never can
have a rounded knowledge of the world’s literature without being acquainted with
this most phenomenal book.” Numerous extracts from the Bible text as illustra-
tion. Instructive and interesting 15c.

39. The Sketch Book. (Selected) Washington Irving. With introductic n and
notes by Edward A. Parker, Ph.B. Selections from the famous classic, covering
most of the essays used in school work, and including Rip Van Winkle and The
Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 216 pages 1 5c.

41. Julius Caesar. Shakespeare. With introduction, notes, and questions by
Thomas C. Blaisdell, Ph.D., LL.D. Newly edited, scholarly and clear ; especially
adapted for school study 15c.

43. Macbeth. Shakespeare. With introduction, notes, and questions by
Thomas C. Blaisdell, Ph.D., LL.D. Uniform with No. 41 c . 1 5c.

45. The Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare. With introduction, notes, and
questions by Thomas C. Blaisdell, Ph.D., LL.D. Uniform with No. 41 15c.

59. Poe’s Talcs. (Selected) With introduction and notes by Edward A. Parker,
Ph.B. This edition comprises the eight stories which are commonly required by
State course? of study, including The Gold Bug. The Masque of the Red Death. Tlie
Fall of the House of Usher, Ligeia, and the Assignation. 176 pages 15c.

61. A Message to Garcia, and Other Inspirational Readings. Edited, with
notes, by Edward A. Parker, Ph.B. This is a supplementary Reader for Crammer
Grades, designed to be a molder of character. Besides the famous story named in
the title, there are twenty-one selections from famous English and American au-
thors, including Macaulay, Washington, Longfellow, Wendell Phillips, Henry Ward
Beecher, Emerson, and Hawthorne. Each selection is an inspiration and an incen-
tive towards character development lOc

63. Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Edited, with introduction and notes, by Ed-nan
Erie Sparks, Ph.D.. LL.D.. President Pennsylvania State College. Authorof “The
Expansion of the American People, ” and “The Men Who Made the Nation.” Presi-
dent Sparks was for ten years a lecturer and professor of American History at the
Universitj’ of Chicagro, and. among other works, prepared the edition of the Lincoln-
Douglas Debates published in 1908 by the Illinois State Historical Society. The
present volume gives, practically entire, the principal addresses from these famous
debates, with full historical introduction and ample explanatory notes. ■ This will
be a valuable book for school use, and for students of history 20c.

SELECTED TITLES FROM

The Instructor literature Series

SUITABLE FOR GRAMMAR GRADES

The Instructor Literature Series comprises over three hundred titles, fii , >

all the grrades. The following are selected from those suited to the upper grade’- I
and the High School. Send for complete catalogue.

6 CENTS PER COPY

SIXTH YEAR

Literature

*10 Tlie Snow Imago*

^Jl Rip Vnn Winkle*

*12 l.pcfnd of Sleepy Hollow*

*2-‘ Kai> and His Friends

“lA Three Gold«m Apples* !

*’J5 Th e M i ruculous Pitcher*

“26 The Minotaur

118 A Tale of the Wkite Hills and Other

Stories
•119 Bryant’s Thimatopsis and Other Poejns
*r20 Ten Selections from Lon?-l’eJlow <Pital
Kevere’sRide, Skeleton in Armor a,nd
Other Poems)
*121 Selections from Holmes (Wonderful
One-Ho99 Shayt Old Ironsides, end
other poems)
*122 The Pied Piper of Hamelin and Other
Toems—lirotonitig

161 The Great Curlmncle, Mr. Higgin-
botham’s Catastrophe, Snowtlakes

162 The Pyemies

•Jll The Golden Fleece

,222 Kinesley’8 Greek Heroes— Part I. The

Story of Perseus
•223 Kingsley’8 Greek Heroes-Part II. The

Story of Theseus
*225 Tennyson’s Poems —Selected for Var-
ious Grades.
226 A Child’s Dream of a Star
229 Responsive Bible Readings
‘258 The Pilgrim’s Progress
•264 The Story of Don Quixote
277 Thrift Stories
“284 Story of Little Nell
*296 The Gentle Boy

SEVENTH YEAR

Literature

*13 Courtship of Miles Standieh

*14 Evangeline*
’15 Snowbound*

*20Tho Great Stone Face. Bill from the
Town Pump

123 Selections from Wordsworth

124 Selections from Shelley and Kents
•147 Story of King Arthur, as told by

Tennyson
•149 Man Without a Country. The*
•192 Story of Jean Valjeau— Ffc<i»* Httoo
•193 Selections from the Sketch Book
196 The Gray Champion

213 Poems of Thomas Moore— Selected

214 More Selections from the Sketch Book
•216 Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare— Se-

lectcd
•231 The Oregon Trail (Condensed from

6 CENTS PER COP’

•235 Poems Worth Knowing— Book II
Grammar

238 Lamb’s Adventures of Ulysses, Part
*239 Lamb’s Adventures of Ulysses, Part I
•241 Story of the Iliad (Cond.)
•242 Story of the .aSneid fCond.)
•251 Story of Language and Literature
•252 Battle of Waterloo

254 Story of the Talisman

259 Last of the Mohicans— Abridged

260 Oliver Twist— Abridged

261 Selected Tales of a Wayside Inn
•297 Story of David Copperfield

Nature

‘278 Mars and Its Mysteries
•279 The True Story of the Man in th
Moon

EIGHTH YEAR
History

276 Landing of the Pilgrims— Weba^er
Literature

•17 Enoch Arden*

*18 Vision of Sir Launfal*

’19 Cotter’s Saturday Night*

•23 The Deserted Village

1*25 Selections from Merchant of Venice

126 Rime of the Ancient Mariner*
•127 Gray’s Elegy and Other Poems
•128 Speeches of Lincoln
*129 Selections from Julius Ceesar
•130 Selections from Henry the Eighth

131 Selections from Macbeth
•142 Scott’s Lady of the Lake— Canto 1*

143 Building of the Ship and Other Poem

148 Horatius, Ivry. The Armada

*150 Bunker Hill Address, and Selectioi
from Adams and Jefferson Oration*

‘151 The Gold Bug

153 Prisoner of Chillon and Other Poems

•154 Scott’s Lady of the Lake— Canto II

155 RhcBcus and Other Poems*- Louc/i

156 Edgar Allan ;Poe— Biography and Se
lected Poems

•158 Washington’s Farewell Address an*
Other Papers*

169 Abram Joseph Ryan— Biography an<
Selected Poems

170 Paul H. Hayne— Biography and Select
ed Poems

215 Life of Samuel Johnson— .Va«aatov*
•221 Sir Roger de Coverley Papers*
•286 Poems Worth Knowing — Book Iv
Advanced , ^

237 Lay of the Last Minstrel— Canto I*

NOTE. The titles followed bij an aaterif
{*) have biographical sketch of author, wit
introduction or explanatory notes.

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