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impression. Douglas did not disdain an immediate, ad cap tandum triumph, while Lincoln aimed at permanent conviction. Douglas addressed prejudice, and especially the prejudice against the negro, with an adroitness and power never surpassed.
Lincoln stated his propositions, and sustained them with the fullest historical knowledge and illustration, and with irresistible logic. Douglas, owing to the favorable and unfair apportionment of the Senators and Representatives in the State Legislature, secured a majority, and obtained the Senatorship; although a majority of the popular vote was recorded against him. These debates made Douglas, Senator, and Lincoln, President.
At the close of these debates, and of the canvass, the champions visited the city of Chicago, at about the same time. Lincoln was in perfect health, his face bronzed by the prairie suns, but looking and moving like a trained athlete. His voice was clearer, stronger, and better than when he began the canvass. Douglas was physically, much broken. He was so hoarse that he could scarcely articulate, and was entirely unintelligible in an ordinary tone. Few men living could have gone through these open air discussions without breaking down, and few could have recovered from them so soon. Douglas' speedy recovery, exhibited his wonderful vigor and elasticity.
The most prominent feature of Mr. Lincoln's speeches in this canvass is his constant reference to the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Douglas knew that in Illinois, at that time there was a deep seated, nearly universal prejudice against the negro. He sought continually, to use that prejudice against Mr. Lincoln; sometimes most unfairly misrepresenting him to be in favor of social, as well as political equality, between the races.
The points made by Lincoln in these debates, were:
First, That the country could not permanently endure, half slave and half free, and that slavery was wrong in itself. Second, He attacked the popular sovereignty doctrine of Douglas. His clear, simple statement of it, was its crushing
THE LINCOLN AND DOUGLAS DEBATE.
refutation. He said it meant simply, "if one man choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object."
Third, He announced and endeavored to prove the existence of a conspiracy to perpetuate and nationalize slavery, and that the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and Dred Scott decisions, were essential parts of this scheme.
The point to which he most often recurred, was the defence of the Declaration of Independence, establishing as the very basis of our government, the inalienable rights of man; planting himself on the great principles of the Declaration, which received alike the homage of his heart and the sanction of his intellect. This devotion to the grand idea of man's liberty and equality is the key note of the debate.
In his speech at Chicago, July 10th, 1858, in reply to Douglas, for the purpose of showing that all men were included in the "Declaration of Independence," he says:
We have besides these men descended by blood from our ancestors-among us, perhaps half our people, who are not descendants at all of these men; they are men who have come from Europe, German, Irish, French, and Scandinavianmen that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us; that when they look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old men say that, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day, evidences their relation to those men; that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.
Again he said at Springfield, July 17th, 1858, in reply to Douglas:
I adhere to the Declaration of Independence. If Judge Douglas and his friends are not willing to stand by it, let them come up and amend it. Let them make it read that all men are created equal, except negroes. Let us have it decided, whether the Declaration of Independence, in this blessed year of 1858, shall be thus amended. In his construction of the Declaration last year, he said it only meant that Americans in America, were equal to Englishmen in England. Then when I pointed out to him that by that rule he excludes the Germans, the Irish, the Portuguese, and all the other people who have come amongst us since the Revolution, he reconstructs his construction. In his last speech he tells us it meant Europeans. I press him a little further, and ask if it meant to include the Russians in Asia? or does he mean to exclude that vast population from the principles of the Declaration of Independence? I expect ere long he will introduce another amendment to his definition. He is
not at all particular. He is satisfied with anything which does not endanger the nationalizing of negro slavery. It may draw white men down, but it must not lift negroes up. Who shall say, "I am the superior, and you are the inferior?” My declarations upon this subject of negro slavery may be misrepresented, but cannot be misunderstood. I have said that I do not understand the Declaration to mean that all men were created equal in all respects. They are not our equal in color; but I suppose that it does mean to declare that all men are equal in some respects; they are equal in their right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Certainly the negro is not our equal in color-perhaps not in many other respects; still, in the right to put into his mouth the bread that his own hands have earned, he is the equal of every other man, white or black. In pointing out that more has been given you, you cannot be justified in taking away the little which has been given him. All I ask for the negro is, that if you do not like him, let him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.
Again in August, at Ottawa, he said:
I hold that there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights 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.
At Galesburg, October, 1858, he said:
The Judge has alluded to the Declaration of Independence, 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 language 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 briefly, that I believe the entire records of the world, from the date of the Declaration 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 necessities 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 undoubtedly 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.
I have said once before, and I will repeat it now, that Mr. Clay, when he was once answering an objection to the Colonization Society, that it had a tendency to the ultimate emancipation of the slaves, said that "those who would repress all tendencies to liberty and ultimate emancipation must do more than put down the benevolent efforts of the Colonization Society-they must go back to the era of our liberty and independence, and muzzle the cannon that thunders its annual joyous return they must blot out the moral lights around us-they must penetrate the human soul, and eradicate the light of reason and the love of liberty!" and I do think-1 repeat, though I said it on a former occasion—that Judge Douglas, and
THE LINCOLN AND DOUGLAS DEBATE.
whoever like him teaches that the negro has no share, humble though it may be, in the Declaration of Independence, is going back to the era of our liberty and independence, and, so far as in him lies, muzzling the cannon that thunders its annual joyous return; that he is blowing out the moral lights around us, when he contends that whoever wants slaves has a right to hold them; that he is penetrating, so far as lies in his power, the human soul, and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty, when he is in every possible way preparing the public mind, by his vast influence for making the institution of slavery perpetual and
At Alton, October 15th, 1858, he said:
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 Independence 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 country, and it will be a matter of great astonishment to me if they shall be able to find that one human being three years ago, had ever uttered the astounding sentiment that the term "all men" in the Declaration did not include the negro. Do not let me be misunderstood. 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 Declaration of Independence was in that respect "a self-evident 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 ventured 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 catch-word of the entire party. I would like to call upon his friends everywhere, to consider how they have come in so short a time to view this inatter in a way so entirely different from their former belief?-to ask whether they are not being borne along by an irresistible current - whither, they know not?
But, perhaps, the noblest and sublimest utterance in all these protracted debates, were the words he uttered at Alton "Is slavery wrong?"
That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles-right and wrong-throughout the world. They are two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of Kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it developes itself. It is the same spirit that says, You work, and toil, and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a King who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.
It required some nerve in Lincoln, in a State where the prejudice against the negro was so strong that the people
would neither let him vote nor testify, nor serve on a jury, to stand up and proclaim the right of the negro to all the rights in the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Lincoln stated, "that up to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, he had lived in the hope that slavery was in the course of ultimate extinction:"
The adoption of the Constitution and its attendant history led the people to believe so; and that such was the belief of the framers of the Constitution itself. Why did those old men, about the time of the adoption of the Constitution, decree that slavery should not go into the new territory, where it had not already gone? Why declare that within twenty years the African slave trade, by which slaves are supplied, might, be cut off by Congress? Why were all these acts? I might enumerate more of these acts-but enough. What were they but a clear indication that the framers of the Constitution intended and expected the ultimate extinction of that institution? And now, when I say, as I said in my speech that Judge Douglas has quoted from, when I say that I think the opponents of slavery will resist the farther spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest with the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction, I only mean to say, that they will place it where the founders of this Government originally placed it.
He thus describes his appreciation of the momentous issue:
I do not claim, gentlemen, to be unselfish; I do not pretend that I would not like to go to the United States Senate; I make no such hypocritical pretence; but I do say to you that in this mighty issue, it is nothing to the mass of the people of the Nation, whether or not Judge Douglas or myself shall ever be heard of, after this night; it may be a trifle to either of us, but in connection with this mighty question, upon which hang the destinies of the Nation, perhaps, it is absolutely nothing.
Judge Douglas, in the speech at Bloomington, July 16th, 1858, indicated the style in which he desired to conduct the debate:
The Republican Convention, when it assembled at Springfield, did me and the country the honor of indicating the man who was to be their standard-bearer, and the embodiment of their principles, in this State. I owe them my gratitude for thus making up a direct issue between Mr. Lincoln and myself. I shall have no controversies of a personal character with Mr. Lincoln. I have known him well for a quarter of a century. I have known him, as you all know him, a kindhearted, amiable gentleman, a right good fellow, a worthy citizen, of eminent ability as a lawyer, and I have no doubt, sufficient ability to make a good Senator. The question, then, for you to decide is, whether his principles are more in accordance with the genius of our free institutions, the peace and harmony of the Republic, than those which I advocate. He tells you, in his speech made at Springfield, before the convention which gave him his unanimous nomination, that:
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." "I believe this Government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free." "I do not expect the Tinion to be dissolved - I don't 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."