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in all the arts of debate fully his equal. The Republicans of Illinois have chosen a champion worthy of their heartiest support, and fully equipped for the conflict with the great Squatter Sovereign.
SLAVERY IN THE TERRITORIES
DEBATES BETWEEN ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND SENATOR DOUGLAS
First Debate-At Ottawa, August 21, 1858
Senator Douglas opened with the charge that Lincoln, a Whig, and Trumbull, a Democrat, had entered into a conspiracy in 1854 to break up both these parties and form a new Abolition party out of the fragments under the name and disguise of Republican. Their personal reward was to be the representation of their State in the Senate.
In pursuance of the arrangement, the parties met at Springfield in October, 1854, and proclaimed a platform for their new Republican party, which was thus to be constructed. Here is the most important and material resolution of this Abolition platform:
Resolved, That the times imperatively demand the reorganization of parties, and, repudiating all previous party attachments, names, and predilections, we unite ourselves together in defence of the liberty and Constitution of the country, and will hereafter coöperate as the Republican party, pledged to the accomplishment of the following purposes: To bring the administration of the government back to the control of first principles; to restore Nebraska and Kansas to the position of free Territories; that, as the Constitution 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 prohibited.
[The reading of this resolution was punctuated with applause from a part of the audience.]
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, I have no doubt; and when you were not aware for what purpose 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 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 answer 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 admission of a new State into the Union. with such a constitution 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 desire 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 compromise line. I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to the acquisition of any more territory unless slavery is prohibited therein. I ask Abraham Lincoln to answer these questions, in order that, when I trot him down to lower Egypt,1 I may put the same questions to him. My principles are the same everywhere. I can proclaim them alike in the North, the South, the East, and the West. My principles will apply wherever the Constitution prevails and the American flag waves. I desire to know whether Mr. Lincoln's principles will bear transplanting from Ottawa to Jonesboro ?
Here Senator Douglas disclaimed any intention of expressing personal disrespect for his opponent. They had known each other from the days when Douglas was a struggling school teacher and Lincoln a "grocerykeeper." He said incidentally that Lincoln "could ruin more liquor than all the boys of the town together."
Mr. Lincoln served with me in the legislature in 1836, when we both retired, and he subsided, or became submerged, and he was lost sight of as a public man for some years. In 1846,
'The southern end of Illinois, which had been settled from the South, and was therefore pro-slavery in sentiment.
when Wilmot introduced his celebrated proviso and the Abolition tornado swept over the country, Lincoln again turned up as a member of Congress from the Sangamon district. I was then in the Senate of the United States, and was glad to welcome my old friend and companion. While in Congress he distinguished himself by his opposition to the Mexican war, taking the side of the common enemy against his own country; and, when he returned home he found that the indignation of the people followed him everywhere, and he was again submerged or obliged to retire into private life, forgotten by his former friends. He came up again in 1854, just in time to make this Abolition or Black Republican platform, in company with Giddings, Lovejoy, Chase, and Fred Douglass, for the Republican party to stand upon.
Having formed this new party for the benefit of deserters 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.
Here the speaker read from Lincoln's speech at Springfield, on June 16, the paragraph upon "the house divided against itself." At the close there were cheers and cries of "Good, good!" from the audience.
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 listen to me, that it is revolutionary and destructive of the existence of this Government. Why can it not exist divided into free and slave States? Why can it not exist on the same principles on which our fathers made it? They knew when they framed the Constitution that, in a country as wide and broad as this, with such a variety of climate, production, and interest, the people necessarily required different laws and institutions in different localities. They knew that the laws and regulations which would suit the granite hills of New Hampshire would be unsuited to the rice plantations of South Carolina, and they therefore provided that each State should retain its own legislature and its own sovereignty, with the full and complete power to do as it pleased within its own limits, in all that was local and not national. One of the reserved rights of the States was the right to regulate the relations between master and servant, on the slavery question. At the time the Constitution was framed there were thirteen States in the Union, twelve of which were slaveholding States and one
a free State. Suppose this doctrine of uniformity preached by Mr. Lincoln, that the States should all be free or all be slave, had prevailed, what would have been the result? Of course, the twelve slaveholding States would have overruled the one free State and slavery would have been fastened by a constitutional provision on every inch of the American republic instead of being left, as our fathers wisely left it, to each State to decide for itself. Here I assert that uniformity in the local laws and institutions of the different States is neither possible nor desirable. If uniformity 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 and 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 decision. I ask you, are you in favor of conferring upon the negro the rights and privileges of citizenship? Do you desire to strike out of our State constitutions 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 eligible to office, to serve on juries, and to adjudge your rights, then support Mr. Lincoln and the Black Republican 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 posterity forever, and I am in favor of confining citizenship to white men, men of European birth and descent, instead of conferring it upon negroes, Indians, and other inferior races.
Mr. Lincoln, following the example and lead of all the little Abolition orators who go around and lecture in the basements of schools and churches, reads from the Declaration of Independence that all men were created equal, and then asks how can
you deprive a negro of that equality which God and the Declaration of Independence award to him? He and they maintain that negro equality is guaranteed by the laws of God and that it is asserted in the Declaration of Independence. If they think so, of course they have a right to say so, and so vote. I do not question Mr. Lincoln's conscientious belief that the negro was made his equal, and, hence, is his brother; but, for my own part, I do not regard the negro as my equal, and positively deny that he is my brother or any kin to me whatever. Lincoln holds that the negro was born his equal and yours and that he was endowed with equality by the Almighty, and that no human law can deprive him of these rights which were guaranteed to him by the Supreme Ruler of the universe. Now, I do not believe that the Almighty ever intended the negro to be the equal of the white man. If he did He has been a long time demonstrating the fact. For thousands of years the negro has been a race upon the earth and during all that time, in all latitudes and climates, wherever he has wandered or been taken, he has been inferior to the race which he has there met. He belongs to an inferior race, and must always occupy an inferior position. I do not hold that because the negro is our inferior therefore he ought to be a slave. By no means can such a con-, clusion be drawn from what I have said. On the contrary, I hold that humanity and Christianity both require that the negro shall have and enjoy every right, every privilege, and every immunity consistent with the safety of the society in which he lives. On that point, I presume, there can be no diversity of opinion.
The question then arises: what rights and privileges are consistent with the public good? This is a question 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 rights whatsoever, and refusing to put him on an equality with the white man. That policy of Illinois is satisfactory to the Democratic party and to me, and, if it were to the Republicans, there would then be no question upon the subject; but the Republicans 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.