Note: This post went up at BizzyBlog for the first time on President’s Day last year, and may become a BizzyBlog President’s Day tradition.
From Abraham Lincoln’s speech in Peoria, Illinois on October 16, 1854, objecting to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed for the possibility that slavery could spread to territories north of the Mason-Dixon Line embodied in the Missouri Compromise:
Well I doubt not that the people of Nebraska are, and will continue to be as good as the average of people elsewhere. I do not say the contrary. What I do say is, that no man is good enough to govern another man, without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle—the sheet anchor of American republicanism. Our Declaration of Independence says:
“We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.”
I have quoted so much at this time merely to show that according to our ancient faith, the just powers of governments are derived from the consent of the governed. Now the relation of masters and slaves is, PRO TANTO, a total violation of this principle. The master not only governs the slave without his consent; but he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those which he prescribes for himself. Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only is self government.
Read the whole thing. Lincoln was obviously not without concern for the results of abolition, but he clearly was on the way towards advocating for it.
Read the whole thing — but carve out time for it during lunch, because it is anything but short.