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MessagePosté le: Mar 4 Juil - 10:00 (2017)    Sujet du message: Abraham Lincolns Personality Justice Excerpts From Newspa Répondre en citant



Excerpt from Abraham Lincoln's Personality: Justice; Excerpts From Newspapers and Other Sources

In 1841 Lincoln had seen a group of slaves on a steamboat being sold South from Kentucky to a harsher (so he assumed) slavery. Immediately after the trip, he noted the irony of their seeming contentment with their lot. They had appeared to be the happiest people on board. After the kansas-nebraska Act, he wrote about the same episode, still vivid to him, as a continual torment to me. Slavery, he said, has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable.

Lincoln repeatedly stated that slaveholders were no worse than Northerners would be in the same situation. Having inherited an undesirable but socially explosive political institution, Southerners made the best of a bad situation. Like all Americans before the Revolution, they had denounced Great Britain's forcing slavery on the colonies with the slave trade, and, even'i'n the 1850s, they admitted the humanity of the Negro by despising those Southerners who dealt with the Negro as property, pure and simple slave traders. But he feared that the ability of Northerners to see that slavery was morally wrong was in decline. This, almost as surely as disunion, could mean the end of the American experiment in freedom, for any argument for slavery which ignored the moral wrong of the institution could be used to enslave any man, white or black. If lighter men were to enslave darker men, then you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own. If superior intellect determined masters, then you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own. Once the moral distinction between slavery and freedom were forgotten, nothing could stop its spread. It was founded in the selfishness of man's nature, and that selfishness could overcome any barriers of climate or geography.

By 1856 Lincoln was convinced that the sentiment in favor of white slavery prevailed in all the slave state papers, except those of Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri and Maryland. The people of the South had an immediate palpable and immensely great pecuniary interest in the question; while, with the people of the North, it is merely an abstract question of moral right. Unfortunately, the latter formed a looser bond than economic self-interest in two billion dollars worth of slaves. And the Northern ability to resist was steadily undermined by the moral indifference to slavery epitomized by Douglas's willingness to see slavery voted up or down in the territories. The Dred Scott decision in 1857 convinced Lincoln that the kansas-nebraska Act had been the beginning of a conspiracy to make slavery perpetual, national, and universal. His house-divided Speech of 1858 and his famous debates with Douglas stressed the specter of a conspiracy to nationalize slavery.

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