Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lincoln vs. Douglas

I've been reading some of Abraham Lincoln's presidential campaign speeches, which are largely concerned with his opponent, Judge Douglas, and the burning question of the day--whether slavery would be allowed to spread, or if it could be contained and eventually ended.

Some well-known quotations from Lincoln on his position about slavery are taken from these speeches, but I found that a single famous line by itself did not really communicate his opinion properly. He starts off his speech by saying that he does not want to interfere with slavery or abolish it, and that he does not feel that he has the power to do so anyway (which was true enough). Most of the rest of the speech is devoted to making it quite clear that he doesn't approve of slavery one bit, but he's primarily concerned with stopping Douglas and others from spreading the practice throughout all the States. After that, he thinks it would be Congress' job to foster an environment in which slavery would die out, preferably without starting a war over the issue.

I need to do quite a bit more reading on the Civil War--I haven't even really gotten started.

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