Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Presidents Day

This actually seemed like one of those apocryphal quotes you find on the internet because it's just too cogent and eerily appropriate re the current crisis in the wake of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. But it's accurate, and here's the larger context, via the Library of Congress:

Lincoln's 1860 Presidential Campaign

Although he lost the senatorial election to Douglas, Lincoln won national attention through the campaign and debates. A Searchon Douglas debates provides a letter from Ohio politician, William Dennison Jr. to Illinois's Lyman Trumbull requesting information on the Lincoln-Douglas debates, showing that Lincoln's fame had spread beyond the borders of his home state.
As Lincoln's popularity within the Republican Party grew, he was invited to address members of his party throughout the nation. In September 1859 Lincoln gave several speeches to Ohio Republicans, and on February 27, 1860, he spoke at Cooper Union in New York City. A Search on Ohio speech provides the notes Lincoln used for his 1859 engagements. The notes articulate Lincoln's policy on slavery, and his positions on popular sovereignty and the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision.
"We must not disturb slavery in the states where it exists, because the Constitution, and the peace of the country both forbid us — We must not withhold an efficient fugitive slave law, because the constitution demands it —
But we must, by a national policy, prevent the spread of slavery into new territories, or free states, because the constitution does not forbid us, and the general welfare does demand such prevention — We must prevent the revival of the African slave trade, because the constitution does not forbid us, and the general welfare does require the prevention — We must prevent these things being done, by either congresses or courts — The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it —"

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