Abraham Lincoln, June 1857 Springfield Speech (Donald, 1996)

David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1996), 202.
It was a powerful speech, but not a radical one. Indeed, Gustave Koerner, the German-American leader of the Republicans in Bellville, complained that it was “too much on the old conservative order” and concluded that Lincoln was “an excellent man, but no match to such impudent Jesuits and sophists as [Senator Stephen] Douglas.” What Lincoln omitted from his argument was as significant as what he said. Though many observers recognized that the Dred Scott decision had gutted Douglas’s favorite doctrine of popular sovereignty by invalidating all congressional legislation concerning slavery in the national territories, Lincoln made no effort to point out the contradiction between the ideas of the Chief Justice and those of the senior senator from Illinois; nor did he discuss Douglas’s theory that territorial governments, despite the Court’s ruling in Dred Scott, could effectively exclude slavery by refusing to protect it. Lincoln’s object was not to show differences between the two Democratic spokesmen but to picture them as united in oppressing the African-American and in extending the institution of slavery.
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