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Writings of Abraham Lincoln Volume 3 The Lincoln-Douglas debates

December 4th, 2011

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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


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History Books This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.
http://www.bookpool.org/5949-writings-of-abraham-lincoln-volume-3-the-lincoln-douglas-debates/

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  1. Louie Louie
    December 16th, 2011 at 23:00 | #1

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    If you are interested in the history of slavery or the ideas of Abraham Lincoln, this book is enlightening. Rather than read what others say about the Lincoln-Douglas debates, during which Lincoln gives his reasons for being Abolitionist, I would suggest reading these documents yourself. The first speeches can be a bit hard to get through unless you have a good knowledge of what Douglas said, but once you understand Lincoln’s and Douglas’s basic ideas, the rest goes fairly fast and you’ll be able to see Lincoln’s personality come out.

    I couldn’t put it down.

    Here are just a few of my observations from the speeches:

    The several speeches in this book, including those given at the Lincoln-Douglas Debates by Lincoln (not Douglas), show Lincoln was an Abolitionist. His opponent, on the other hand, claimed neither for nor against but would have allowed the resolution of the issue to go either way. In fact, Lincoln makes very good arguments pointing to Douglas being in a conspiracy for slavery.

    Lincoln, time and again, pointed out in his speeches how Douglas was actually trying to force all States to be Slave States, by inserting wording into certain legislation that would have made this possible and by supporting the Dred Scott decision.

    Lincoln spoke against any forcible meddling in the affairs of the Slave States (war) and preferred to solve the question peaceably. He was of the opinion that at some point in time, either all States would be free or all would have slaves and that the Founding Fathers foresaw the inevitable end to slavery. He definitely intended to work to end slavery, while his opponent pretended to allow any resolution to the problem.

    Lincoln was asked, if a Territory where there were slaves wished to become a State, would he allow that Territory to become a State. Lincoln replied that unless he could find something unconstitutional about it, he would feel forced to admit the Territory. However, Lincoln was against slavery in every Territory, and he believed that no Territory would vote to allow slavery. Douglas, on the other hand, was doing everything possible to allow slavery in Territories if even one slaveholder brought his possessions to that Territory.

    From reading these speeches, one can see that Lincoln was juggling a variety of factors but was able to put his ideas together logically and believably. He gave some points to the South by saying that, yes, every person including blacks are equal under the law but that equality in intelligence, for instance, was yet to be proven. When he made such comments, however, he never emphatically stated such as opinions. From a historical viewdpoint, I don’t think that any of these statements take away from his greatness nor his real desire to see all people free and equal.

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