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Lincoln-Douglas Debates (McPherson, 2001)

Textbook

James M. McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2001), 118.

Douglas tried to put Lincoln on the defensive by identifying him with the abolitionists. The country could survive half slave and half free, said Douglas. It had done so from the beginning and there was no reason why it could not do so indefinitely. Popular sovereignty gave the residents of territories the choice to have slavery or not. In all remaining territories they were sure to exclude slavery, said Douglas, if given a fair choice. This would achieve what most Northerners wanted without the risk of disunion, which the Black Republicans would provoke with their abolitionist doctrine of 'ultimate extinction.' Moreover, said Douglas, the Republicans favored black equality. He hammered away at this theme ad nauseam, especially in the Butternut counties of southern Illinois. 'I do not believe that the Almighty ever intended for the negro to be the equal of the white man,' thundered Douglas as his partisans roared approval. 'He belongs to an inferior race, and must always occupy an inferior position.' America was a white man's country, 'made by white men, for the benefit of white men and their posterity for ever, and I am in favor of confinnig citizenship to white men.'
How to Cite This Page: "Lincoln-Douglas Debates (McPherson, 2001)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/17030.