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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: SOME OF LINCOLN'S VIEWS

Monday, December 08, 2008


Lincoln to Horace Greeley August 22, 1862: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it . . .”

“I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races,” Lincoln announced in his Aug. 21, 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas. “I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.” And, “Free them [slaves] and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this. . . . We cannot, then, make them equals.”

"I will say, then, that I AM NOT NOR HAVE EVER BEEN in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races---that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with White people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the White and black races which will ever FORBID the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the White race."

— 4th Lincoln-Douglas debate, September 18th, 1858; COLLECTED WORKS Vol. 3, pp. 145-146

In Springfield, Illinois on July17, 1858 Lincoln said, “What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races.” On Sept. 18, 1858 in Charleston, Illinois he said: “I will to the very last stand by the law of this state, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes.”

Lincoln supported the Illinois Constitution, which prohibited the emigration of black people into the state, and he also supported the Illinois Black Codes which deprived the small number of free blacks in the state any semblance of citizenship. He strongly supported the Fugitive Slave Act, which compelled Northern states to capture runaway slaves and return them to their owners. In his First Inaugural he pledged his support of a proposed constitutional amendment that had just passed the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives that would have prohibited the federal government from ever having the power “to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.” In his First Inaugural Lincoln advocated making this amendment “express and irrevocable.”

Lincoln was also a lifelong advocate of “colonization” or shipping all black people to Africa, Central America, Haiti – anywhere but here. “I cannot make it better known than it already is, “he stated in a Dec. 1, 1862 Message to Congress, “that I strongly favor colonization.”

"What I would most desire would be the separation of the white and black races." — Spoken at Springfield, Illinois on July 17th, 1858; from ABRAHAM LINCOLN: COMPLETE WORKS, 1894, Vol. 1, page 273

"See our present condition---the country engaged in war! Our White men cutting one another's throats! And then consider what we know to be the truth. But for your race among us there could not be war, although many men engaged on either side do not care for you one way or another.

"Why should the people of your race be colonized, and where? Why should they leave this country? This is, perhaps, the first question for proper consideration. You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this be admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated. It is better for both, therefore, to be separated."

— Spoken at the White House to a group of black community leaders, August 14th, 1862 from COLLECTED WORKS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Vol 5, page 371


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