He also draws attention to the apparent intentionality of the vague language, reinforcing his theory that Douglas and the Democrats are conspiring to expand slavery. A House Divided Speech. Lincoln subverts this narrative and instead appeals to the righteous indignation of abolitionists and anti-slavery voters who have now had their right to protest slavery infringed upon. —Harold Holzer, Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006), 2 “Harold Holzer boldly calls the Cooper Union talk “the speech that made Abraham Lincoln president.” I will be so bold as to say that it was popular sovereignty that made Lincoln … 301 certified writers online The nearest approach to the point of declaring the power of a State over slavery is made by Judge Nelson. Its leading advocate was Stephen A. Douglas. Each successive clause reminds his audience that Douglas is an outsider and that he has made no promise to ever support the anti-slavery clause. On March 4, 1865, only 41 days before his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office for the second time. As Kansas and Nebraska were being formally settled in the early 1850s, debates sparked in Congress over the expansion of slavery into these new territories. 1292-1293 “Attracting national attention, Lincoln’s house-divided speech sounded very radical. If slavery cannot be prohibited by Congress or a territorial legislature, then individuals can move their slaves into territories as they please. It was recited by Abraham Lincoln as he accepted the Republican Party nomination as a representative of the United States Senate. However, beginning with the Compromise of 1850 and the strengthening of the Fugitive Slave Act, the anti-slavery cause began losing ground. Put that and that together, and we have another nice little nitch, which we may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court decision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a state to exclude slavery from its limits. Indeed, much of Lincoln’s speech has focused on highlighting how Douglas has aided the pro-slavery cause. Douglas was not present. However, some Republicans harbored hopes that Douglas might actually be on their side. Lincoln establishes the Republican party as the defenders of the anti-slavery cause. By introducing his ideas with “plainly,” Lincoln indicates that his conclusions should be clear and apparent in light of the evidence he has presented. Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention. Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but sooner or later the victory is sure to come. I do not understand his declaration that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up to be intended by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the public mind—the principle for which he declares he has suffered so much, and is ready to suffer to the end. Douglas was a prominent politician in the 1850s due to his co-authorship of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. However, Lincoln dismisses this possibility and frames the dispute as “little.” This diminishes the perceived magnitude of the disagreement and reinforces Douglas’s continued attachment to the Democrats. Both were anti-slavery and saw the majority’s decision as an overreach of judicial power. Let him consider not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted; but also let him study the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidences of design and concert of action among its chief architects, from the beginning. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln's_House_Divided_Speech Lincoln wanted to show the US how slavery will split up the United States. The phrase “a living dog is better than a dead lion” is drawn from Ecclesiastes 9:4. Four days later commenced the struggle which ended in repealing that congressional prohibition. Many of the border states between the North and South had abolished slavery, and the practice was falling out of favor in more urbanized regions of the South. Why was the court decision held up? He now accuses “Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James” of being in the process of constructing that new, pro-slavery nation. Africans in America/Part 4/Lincoln's "House Divided" speech. By saying that no one can be “quite sure” of the reasoning behind the omission, Lincoln sets up his claim that the ability of inidvidual states and territories to exclude slavery may be in jeopardy in the current political climate. First, that no negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and no descendant of such slave can ever be a citizen of any State, in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States. He has not said so. In response, anti-slavery free-staters formed their own unofficial legislature. Abraham Lincoln delivered the “House Divided” speech in Springfield, Illinois, on June 16, 1858 after the Republican State Convention nominated … The indorsement, however, fell short of a clear popular majority by nearly four hundred thousand votes, and so, perhaps, was not overwhelmingly reliable and satisfactory. After being printed by New York newspapers, the speech was widely circulated as campaign literature. If African Americans cannot be citizens, then they have no constitutional protections nor do they have the ability to legally challenge their status. As he speaks, Lincoln keeps a tally of the “points” gained by the pro-slavery cause. Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and mold public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, not to care whether slavery is voted down or voted up. If slaveowners can freely transport their slaves into free states and then take them back to slave states, then there is little preventing them from settling in free states with their slaves more permanently. Lincoln asks his audience to consider how Douglas could possibly be a advocate for the anti-slavery cause when he has made it clear that he has no personal investment in it. Full text: Joe Biden inauguration speech transcript "Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Lincoln stakes a claim to the moral highground by framing apathy—and the cultivation of it in the “public mind”—as incomprehensible. While the opinion of the Court, by Chief Justice Taney, in the Dred Scott case, and the separate opinions of all the concurring Judges, expressly declare that the Constitution of the United States neither permits Congress nor a territorial legislature to exclude slavery from any United States territory, they all omit to declare whether or not the same Constitution permits a state, or the people of a State to exclude it. Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and mould public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, to not care whether slavery is voted down or voted up. They have already made “the frame of a house” using the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Dred Scott decision. Up until the 1850s, the balance between slave states and free states had been carefully maintained. This opened all the national territory to slavery; and was the first point gained. I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.  If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. However, after the Kansas-Nebraska Act was enacted, Northern anti-slavery sentiments were inflamed. The central focus of the party was to oppose the expansion of slavery and promote economic reform, and the “discordant” assortment of political alignments formed a tense truce around that platform. He would later become one of the co-authors of the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery across the United States. Why was the amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people to exclude slavery, voted down? 4. The 1856 presidential election featured three primary candidates: Democrat James Buchanan, Republican John C. Fremont, and American Party candidate Millard Fillmore.
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