• Speech at Chicago

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Speech at Chicago Speech at Chicago 1 Stephen Douglas (1813-1861) As the primary author of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the most vocal defender of the Dred Scott decision, Douglas traveled extensively promoting the concept of popular sovereignty, which he equated with republican self-government. The national reputation he garnered in the process would, he hoped, serve him well in a future presidential bid. July 9, 1858 ...Fellow-citizens, while I devoted my best energies—all my energies, mental and physical—to the vindication of the great principle, and whilst the result has been such as will enable the people of Kansas to come into the Union with such a constitution as they desire, yet the credit of this great moral victory is to be divided ...
  • Seventh Lincoln-Douglas Debate

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Seventh Lincoln-Douglas Debate Seventh Lincoln-Douglas Debate 1 Lincoln and Douglas agreed to debate in all nine of the state's congressional districts, with their recent speeches in Chicago and Springfield counting as the opening salvos. Seven debates ensued, each lasting three hours. This seventh and last debate, held in Alton, drew more than 5,000 spectators. Local and national papers—most in the service of one of the two main parties—reprinted each speech, leading to widespread circulation. After the debates concluded, Lincoln published an edited version. The book's popularity throughout the North paved the way for his eventual presidential campaign. October 15, 1858 Senator Douglas's Speech ...The issue thus being made up between Mr. Lincoln ...
  • Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act 1 Abraham Lincoln Supporters of the Compromise of 1850 lauded it as a continuation of the Missouri Compromise, which had helped maintain peace for thirty years. But four years later, the Missouri Compromise was eviscerated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Authored by Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas, it was in fact two provisions, one providing for the territory of Nebraska and the other for the new territory of Kansas. Breaking with the Missouri Compromise's ban on slavery in this part of the country, it established the policy of "popular sovereignty": Slavery would be voted on by the citizens of each territory, and made legal or illegal according to the will of the majority. For Lincoln, this ...
  • Speech on the Dred Scott Decision

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Speech on the Dred Scott Decision Speech on the Dred Scott Decision 1 Abraham Lincoln Lincoln argues that Chief Justice Taney's opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford violated America's founding principles and rewrote American history. June 26, 1857 ...And now as to the Dred Scott decision. That decision declares two propositions—first, that a negro cannot sue in the U.S. Courts; and secondly, that Congress cannot prohibit slavery in the Territories. It was made by a divided court—dividing differently on the different points. Judge Douglas does not discuss the merits of the decision; and, in that respect, I shall follow his example, believing I could no more improve on McLean and Curtis, than he could on Taney. He denounces all who question ...
  • A House Divided

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    A House Divided A House Divided 1 Abraham Lincoln Lincoln delivered this speech upon his nomination as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, where he would square off against incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas. Drawing the leading metaphor from a passage in the Gospel of Matthew, Lincoln held that pro-slavery forces—Douglas, Franklin Pierce (president when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was adopted), Roger Taney, and James Buchanan (president when Dred Scott was decided)—were working in concert to effect a national policy legalizing slavery in all states and territories. Papers throughout the North reprinted the text of the speech, propelling Lincoln to new prominence. June 16, 1858 Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention: If ...
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