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Lincoln's Nationalism

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by Andrew Villwock on 12 November 2013

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Transcript of Lincoln's Nationalism

Lincoln Responds to the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Peoria, Illinois (October 16, 1854)
“I wish further to say, that I do not propose to question the patriotism, or to assail the motives of any man, or class of men; but rather to strictly confine myself to the naked merits of the question.
I also wish to be no less than National in all the positions I may take; and whenever I take ground which others have thought, or may think, narrow, sectional and dangerous to the Union, I hope to give a reason, which will appear sufficient, at least to some, why I think differently.
And, as this subject is no other, than part and parcel of the larger general question of domestic-slavery, I wish to MAKE and to KEEP the distinction between the EXISTING institution, and the EXTENSION of it, so broad, and so clear, that no honest man can misunderstand me, and no dishonest one, successfully misrepresent me.”
Lincoln at Kalamazoo, Michigan
August 27, 1856
“There is another thing, and that is the mature knowledge we have---the greatest interest of all. It is the doctrine, that the people are to be driven from the maxims of our free Government, that despises the spirit which for eighty years has celebrated the anniversary of our national independence.
We are a great empire. We are eighty years old. We stand at once the wonder and admiration of the whole world, and we must enquire what it is that has given us so much prosperity, and we shall understand that to give up that one thing, would be to give up all future prosperity. This cause is that every man can make himself."
The Dred Scott Decision, 1857
“The question then arises, whether the provisions of the Constitution, in relation to the personal rights and privileges to which the citizen of a State should be entitled, embraced the negro African race, at that time in this country or who might afterwards be imported, who had then or should afterwards be made free in any State, and to put it in the power of a single State to make him a citizen of the United States and endue him with the full rights of citizenship in every other State without their consent? Does the Constitution of the United States act upon him whenever he shall be made free under the laws of a State, and raised there to the rank of a citizen, and immediately clothe him with all the privileges of a citizen in every other State, and in its own courts?
The court think the affirmative of these propositions cannot be maintained. And if it cannot, the plaintiff in error could not be a citizen of the State of Missouri within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States, and, consequently, was not entitled to sue in its courts.

In the opinion of the court, the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument."
“If [the Republican] interpretation of the Declaration be correct, and the principle of negro equality be true, as supposed by the opponents of the Dred Scott decision, we shall certainly be compelled, as conscientious and just men, to go one step further—repeal all laws making any distinction whatever on account of race and color, and authorize negroes to marry white women on an equality with white men…
The time has not arrived when it is deemed prudent by the leaders of the Republican party, in this State, to make a frank and honest confession of faith, and proclaim it to the world in tones that can be heard and language that can be understood to mean the same thing in all portions of the State. But so long as they quote the Declaration of Independence to prove that a negro was created equal to a white man, we have no excuse for closing our eyes and professing ignorance of what they intend to do, so soon as they get the power.”
The "House Divided" Speech
June 16, 1858
“The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in connection with Senator Douglas' 'care not' policy, constitute the piece of machinery, in its present state of advancement. This was the third point gained.
The working points of that machinery are:
First, that no negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and no descendant of such slave can ever be a citizen of any State, in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States.
This point is made in order to deprive the negro, in every possible event, of the benefit of this provision of the United States Constitution, which declares that---
'The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.'
Secondly, that 'subject to the Constitution of the United States,' neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature can exclude slavery from any United States territory.
This point is made in order that individual men may fill up the territories with slaves, without danger of losing them as property, and thus to enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future."
The "House Divided" Speech
June 16, 1858
"This shows exactly where we now are; and partially also, whither we are tending.
It will throw additional light on the latter, to go back, and run the mind over the string of historical facts already stated. Several things will now appear less dark and mysterious than they did when they were transpiring. The people were to be left 'perfectly free' 'subject only to the Constitution.' What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then see. Plainly enough now, it was an exactly fitted niche, for the Dred Scott decision to afterwards come in, and declare the perfect freedom of the people, to be just no freedom at all."

The brutality of the Civil War and the intensity of the struggle between the states had a profound impact on Lincoln's view of the country.

Look closely at the texts from his time in the White House, especially those from the end of his life, and see if you notice a shift in the way Lincoln talks about the country.

1. Is there a continuity of ideas here?

2. Where do you see new ideas emerging?
Lincoln's Election
and the War
Lincoln, The 5th Douglas Debate - October 7, 1858
"The essence of the Dred Scott case is compressed into the sentence which I will now read: 'Now, as we have already said in an earlier part of this opinion, upon a different point, the right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.' I repeat it, 'The right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution!' What is it to be 'affirmed' in the Constitution? Made firm in the Constitution---so made that it cannot be separated from the Constitution without breaking the Constitution---durable as the Constitution, and part of the Constitution. Now, remembering the provision of the Constitution which I have read, affirming that that instrument is the supreme law of the land; that the Judges of every State shall be bound by it, any law or Constitution of any State to the contrary notwithstanding; that the right of property in a slave is affirmed in that Constitution, is made, formed into and cannot be separated from it without breaking it; durable as the instrument; part of the instrument;---what follows as a short and even syllogistic argument from it?"
Lincoln, The 7th Douglas Debate - October 15, 1858
“On this subject of treating it as a wrong, and limiting its spread, let me say a word. Has any thing ever threatened the existence of this Union save and except this very institution of Slavery? What is it that we hold most dear amongst us? Our own liberty and prosperity. What has ever threatened our liberty and prosperity save and except this institution of Slavery? If this is true, how do you propose to improve the condition of things by enlarging Slavery---by spreading it out and making it bigger? You may have a wen or a cancer upon your person and not be able to cut it out lest you bleed to death; but surely it is no way to cure it, to engraft it and spread it over your whole body. That is no proper way of treating what you regard a wrong. You see this peaceful way of dealing with it as a wrong---restricting the spread of it, and not allowing it to go into new countries where it has not already existed. That is the peaceful way, the old-fashioned way, the way in which the fathers themselves set us the example.”
Lincoln at Cooper Union - February 27, 1860
“If any man at this day sincerely believes that a proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can. But he has no right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that 'our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live,' were of the same opinion---thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument. If any man at this day sincerely believes 'our fathers who framed the Government under which we live,' used and applied principles, in other cases, which ought to have led them to understand that a proper division of local from federal authority or some part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right to say so. But he should, at the same time, brave the responsibility of declaring that, in his opinion, he understands their principles better than they did themselves; and especially should he not shirk that responsibility by asserting that they 'understood the question just as well, and even better, than we do now.'''
First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861
“…One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute. The fugitive slave clause of the Constitution, and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave trade, are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, cannot be perfectly cured; and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections, than before. The foreign slave trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restriction, in one section; while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all, by the other."
Word Cloud of the Speech to the Ohio 166th
Lincoln to William T. Sherman, December 26, 1864
“Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantages; but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of the whole---Hood's army---it brings those who sat in darkness, to see a great light.”
Speech to the 166th Ohio Regiment,
August 22, 1864
“It is not merely for to-day, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children's children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours. I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has. It is in order that each of you may have through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright---not only for one, but for two or three years. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.”
The Evolution of
Abraham Lincoln's
Nationalism

A Consideration
of Terms
Nationalism: (1) the attitude that the members of a nation have when they care about their national identity (SEP)
The "Claim" of Nationalism
"The normative nature and strength of the claim: does it promote merely a right (say, to have and maintain a form of political self-government, preferably and typically a state, or have cultural life centered upon a recognizably ethno-national culture), or a moral obligation (to get and maintain one), or a moral, legal and political obligation? The strongest claim is typical of classical nationalism: its typical norms are both moral and, once the nation-state is in place, legally enforceable obligations in regard to all parties concerned, including the individual members of the ethno-nation. A weaker, but still quite demanding version speaks only of moral obligation (“sacred duty”). A more liberal version is satisfied with a claim-right to having a state that would be “rightfully owned” by the ethno-nation." (SEP)
Focus Questions?
1. In what ways did Lincoln's philosophy present a nationalistic vision?

2. How did Lincoln's discussion of the slavery issue present the country with a "moral, legal and political" obligation towards freedom?

3. In what ways did Lincoln incorporate contemporary ideas and events into his evolving philosophy of nationalism?

4. How should we understand the call to action found in Lincoln's Civil War-era speeches and letters?

5. Does Lincoln's repeated references to the country's future and the obligations of its citizenry represent a movement away from a passive, philosophical nationalism towards a more active, pragmatic understanding?
The Republican Claim
“Lincoln and the Republicans inverted Northern ideas about anti-slavery politics by attaching a powerful nationalist ideology to the anti-slavery movement. Their core proposition—that the nation was dedicated to freedom—resonated deeply in the free states. Adopting that doctrine, Republicans insisted that Congress possessed the power and the duty to exclude slavery from the territories. Consequently, they pledged to establish freedom’s supremacy in the federal government and to put slavery in the course of ultimate extinction.” (Peck, 4)
Lincoln vs. Douglas on Slavery in the Declaration
Stephen A Douglas on the Dred Scott Decision
“In view of these incontrovertible facts, can any sane man believe that the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the heroes who fought the battles of the Revolution, and the sages who laid the foundation of our complex system of federal and state governments, intended to place the negro race on an equal footing with the white races? If such had been their purpose would they not have abolished slavery and converted every negro into a citizen on the day on which they put forth the Declaration of Independence?”
Lincoln in Chicago
July 10, 1858
“Now, sirs, for the purpose of squaring things with this idea of 'don't care if slavery is voted up or voted down,' for sustaining the Dred Scott decision for holding that the Declaration of Independence did not mean anything at all, we have Judge Douglas giving his exposition of what the Declaration of Independence means, and we have him saying that the people of America are equal to the people of England.
I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle and making exceptions to it where will it stop. If one man says it does not mean a negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man? If that declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute book, in which we find it and tear it out! Who is so bold as to do it! If it is not true let us tear it out!, let us stick to it then, let us stand firmly by it then."
Lincoln Responds to the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Peoria, Illinois (October 16, 1854)
“But now new light breaks upon us. Now congress declares this ought never to have been; and the like of it, must never be again. The sacred right of self government is grossly violated by it! We even find some men, who drew their first breath, and every other breath of their lives, under this very restriction, now live in dread of absolute suffocation, if they should be restricted in the 'sacred right' of taking slaves to Nebraska. That perfect liberty they sigh for---the liberty of making slaves of other people---Jefferson never thought of; their own father never thought of; they never thought of themselves, a year ago. How fortunate for them, they did not sooner become sensible of their great misery! Oh, how difficult it is to treat with respect, such assaults upon all we have ever really held sacred.”
Lincoln Responds to the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Peoria, Illinois (October 16, 1854)
"But now new light breaks upon us. Now congress declares this ought never to have been; and the like of it, must never be again. The sacred right of self government is grossly violated by it! We even find some men, who drew their first breath, and every other breath of their lives, under this very restriction, now live in dread of absolute suffocation, if they should be restricted in the 'sacred right' of taking slaves to Nebraska. That perfect liberty they sigh for---the liberty of making slaves of other people---Jefferson never thought of; their own father never thought of; they never thought of themselves, a year ago. How fortunate for them, they did not sooner become sensible of their great misery! Oh, how difficult it is to treat with respect, such assaults upon all we have ever really held sacred."
Lincoln Responds to the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Peoria, Illinois (October 16, 1854)
"Our republican robe is soiled, and trailed in the dust. Let us repurify it. Let us turn and wash it white, in the spirit, if not the blood, of the Revolution. Let us turn slavery from its claims of 'moral right,' back upon its existing legal rights, and its arguments of 'necessity.' Let us return it to the position our fathers gave it; and there let it rest in peace. Let us re-adopt the Declaration of Independence, and with it, the practices, and policy, which harmonize with it. Let north and south---let all Americans---let all lovers of liberty everywhere---join in the great and good work. If we do this, we shall not only have saved the Union; but we shall have so saved it, as to make, and to keep it, forever worthy of the saving. We shall have so saved it, that the succeeding millions of free happy people, the world over, shall rise up, and call us blessed, to the latest generations."
Ichabod Codding's Reply to Douglas, at Joliet and Geneva, Fall 1854
“The question now is, slavery or liberty, shall a slave policy or a free policy control the nation? Shall the 300,000 slaveholders, be made to keep their fated curse at home, or shall they force twenty millions of freemen to nationalize it and spread it over the entire American continent?... We hold that, in the Declaration of American Independence, our fathers proclaimed the natural rights of men, the rights of human nature to protect which, Governments are or should be instituted… That the whole policy of the government should be to FOSTER LIBERTY and DISCOURAGE SLAVERY… The truth is too apparent to everyone familiar with the history of his country, that as the time of the formation of the Constitution, the whole nation was instinct with the breath of liberty… Slavery cannot be made national except in violation of the Spirit of the Constitution."
1. What similarities do you see between Lincoln's speech and Codding's?

2. How might Lincoln's words have helped attract someone like Ichabod Codding to the Republican cause?
Lincoln at Springfield, Illinois

June 26, 1857
Springfield, June 26, 1857
"There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people, to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races; and Judge Douglas evidently is basing his chief hope, upon the chances of being able to appropriate the benefit of this disgust to himself. If he can, by much drumming and repeating, fasten the odium of that idea upon his adversaries, he thinks he can struggle through the storm. He therefore clings to this hope, as a drowning man to the last plank. He makes an occasion for lugging it in from the opposition to the Dred Scott decision. He finds the Republicans insisting that the Declaration of Independence includes ALL men, black as well as white; and forth-with he boldly denies that it includes negroes at all, and proceeds to argue gravely that all who contend it does, do so only because they want to vote, and eat, and sleep, and marry with negroes! He will have it that they cannot be consistent else. Now I protest against that counterfeit logic which concludes that, because I do not want a black woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. I need not have her for either, I can just leave her alone. In some respects she certainly is not my equal; but in her natural right to eat the bread she earns with her own hands without asking leave of any one else, she is my equal, and the equal of all others."
Springfield, June 26, 1857
"Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, admits that the language of the Declaration is broad enough to include the whole human family, but he and Judge Douglas argue that the authors of that instrument did not intend to include negroes, by the fact that they did not at once, actually place them on an equality with the whites. Now this grave argument comes to just nothing at all, by the other fact, that they did not at once, or ever afterwards, actually place all white people on an equality with one or another. And this is the staple argument of both the Chief Justice and the Senator, for doing this obvious violence to the plain unmistakable language of the Declaration. I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal---equal in 'certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' This they said, and this meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere. The assertion that 'all men are created equal' was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, nor for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack."
Springfield, June 26, 1857
"I have now briefly expressed my view of the meaning and objects of that part of the Declaration of Independence which declares that 'all men are created equal.'
Now let us hear Judge Douglas' view of the same subject, as I find it in the printed report of his late speech. Here it is:
'No man can vindicate the character, motives and conduct of the signers of the Declaration of Independence except upon the hypothesis that they referred to the white race alone, and not to the African, when they declared all men to have been created equal---that they were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain---that they were entitled to the same inalienable rights, and among them were enumerated life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration was adopted for the purpose of justifying the colonists in the eyes of the civilized world in withdrawing their allegiance from the British crown, and dissolving their connection with the mother country.'
My good friends, read that carefully over some leisure hour, and ponder well upon it---see what a mere wreck---mangled ruin---it makes of our once glorious Declaration...
And now I appeal to all---to Democrats as well as others,---are you really willing that the Declaration shall be thus frittered away?---thus left no more at most, than an interesting memorial of the dead past? thus shorn of its vitality, and practical value; and left without the germ or even the suggestion of the individual rights of man in it?"
1. How did Lincoln feel about Justice Taney's decision in the Dred Scott case?

2. What objections did Lincoln have to the way Douglas articulated the philosophies of the Founding Fathers?

3. In what ways did Lincoln use Taney and Douglas' own words to undermine the arguments that they made?
Stop and Think
Lincoln vs. Douglas - September 1864
Stephen A. Douglas
Harper's Weekly, September 1, 1859
"Thus it will be seen, that under the auspices of a political party, which claims sovereignty in Congress overt the subject of slavery, there can be no peace on the slavery question... so long as this Union remains as our fathers made it--divided into free and slave States, with the right on the part of each to retain slavery so long as it chooses, and to abolish it whenever it pleases...
Thus was distinctly formed between the Colonies and the parent country that issue upon which the Declaration of Independence was founded and the battles of the Revolution were fought. It involved the specific claim on the part of the Colonies--denied by the King and Parliament--to the exclusive right of legislation touching all local and external concerns, slavery included. This being the major principle involved in the contest, a majority of the Colonies refused to permit their Delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence except upon the distinct condition and express reservation to each Colony of the exclusive right to manage and control its local concerns and police regulations without the intervention of any general Congress which might be established for the United Colonies."
Lincoln Responds in Columbus
September 16, 1859
“There was another part of our political history made by the very men who were the actors in the Revolution, which has taken the name of the ordinance of '87. Let me bring that history to your attention. In 1784, I believe, this same Mr. Jefferson drew up an ordinance for the government of the country upon which we now stand; or rather a frame or draft of an ordinance for the government of this country, here in Ohio; our neighbors in Indiana; us who live in Illinois; our neighbors in Wisconsin and Michigan. In that ordinance, drawn up not only for the government of that territory, but for the territories south of the Ohio River, Mr. Jefferson expressly provided for the prohibition of slavery.”
“But the mere leaving out is not the most remarkable feature of this most remarkable essay. His proposition is to establish that the leading men of the revolution were for his great principle of non intervention by the government in the question of slavery in the territories; while history shows that they decided in the cases actually brought before them, in exactly the contrary way, and he knows it. Not only did they so decide at that time, but they stuck to it during sixty years, through thick and thin, as long as there was one of the revolutionary heroes upon the stage of political action. Through their whole course, from first to last, they clung to freedom.”
“There are two ways of establishing a proposition. One is by trying to demonstrate it upon reason; and the other is, to show that great men in former times have thought so and so, and thus to pass it by the weight of pure authority. Now, if Judge Douglas will demonstrate somehow that this is popular sovereignty---the right of one man to make a slave of another without any right in that other, or any one else, to object---demonstrate it as Euclid demonstrated propositions---there is no objection. But when he comes forward, seeking to carry a principle by bringing to it the authority of men who themselves utterly repudiate that principle, I ask that he shall not be permitted to do it.”
“Mr. Jefferson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the power of emancipation is in the Federal Government. He spoke of Virginia; and, as to the power of emancipation, I speak of the slaveholding States only. The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has the power of restraining the extension of the institution---the power to insure that a slave insurrection shall never occur on any American soil which is now free from slavery....

Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored---contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man---such as a policy of 'don't care' on a question about which all true men do care---such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance---such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.”
Lincoln at Cooper Union - February 27, 1860
The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the that cause for which they here gave gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Speech to the 164th Ohio Regiment
August 18, 1864
“We have, as all will agree, a free Government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed. I say this in order to impress upon you, if you are not already so impressed, that no small matter should divert us from our great purpose.

This struggle is too large for you to be diverted from it by any small matter. When you return to your homes rise up to the height of a generation of men worthy of a free Government, and we will carry out the great work we have commenced. I return to you my sincere thanks, soldiers, for the honor you have done me this afternoon.”
1. What words jump out at you?
2. What does this tell you about the emphasis of Lincoln's speech?
Is there anything significant about the words that are emphasized?
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, March 5, 1865
“Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan---to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
Roger B. Taney's Decision, March 1857
Stephen A. Douglas' Comments on the Dred Scott Decision, June 12, 1857
Which argument do you find more compelling?
Douglas and Lincoln are using the same document to make opposite cases for the existence or abolition of slavery.

1. Who makes the better case?

2. What evidence makes their argument more legitimate?

3. Is one of the men basing his argument on flawed logic or a misunderstanding of the intent of the Founding Father?

Roger B. Taney
Dred Scott
Stephen A. Douglas
Primary Sources: Abraham Lincoln (in order of appearance)
Abraham Lincoln, Speech at Peoria, Illinois, 16 October 1854, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2: 247-283, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan 27 August 1856, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln(8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2: 361-366, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Speech at Springfield, Illinois 26 June 1857, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln(8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2: 398-410, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

"A House Divided'': Speech at Springfield, Illinois in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln(8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2: 461-469, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Speech at Chicago, Illinois, 10 July 1858, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2: 484-502, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Fifth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Galesburg, Illinois, 7 October 1858, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 3: 207-244, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Seventh and Last Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Alton, Illinois, 15 October 1858, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 3: 283-325, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Speech at Columbus, Ohio, 16 September 1859, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 3: 400-425, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Primary Sources: Abraham Lincoln, continued (in order of appearance)
Address at Cooper Institute, New York City in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 3: 522-550, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

First Inaugural Address---Final Text, March 6, 1861 in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln(8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 4: 262-274, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Gettysburg Address (Hay Draft), November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/malhome.html.

Speech to One Hundred Sixty-Six Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 7: 512, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Speech to One Hundred Sixty-Six Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 7: 512, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Abraham Lincoln to William Sherman, December 26, 1864, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 8: 181-182, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Second Inaugural Address, Washington, DC, March 4, 1865 in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 8: 332-333, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.

Primary Sources: Other (in order of appearance)
Codding, Ichabod. "Ichabod Codding Replies to Douglas." Illinois' War: The Civil War in Documents. Ed. Mark Hubbard. Athens: Ohio UP, 2013. 20-21. Print.

Taney, Roger B. "Opinion of the Court." Legal information Institute. Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0060_0393_ZO.html>.

Douglas, Stephen A. "Remarks of the Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, on Kansas, Utah, and the Dred Scott decision. Delivered at Springfield, Illinois, June 12th, 1857." N.d. Internet Archive. Internet Archive. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <http://archive.org/details/remarksofhonstep00doug>.

- - -. "Popular Sovereignty in the Territories." N.d. The Harper's Magazine Foundation. The Harpers Magazine Foundation. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <http://harpers.org/sponsor/balvenie/stephen-douglas.1.html>.

Videos (in order of appearance)
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <

Villwock, Andrew. Abraham Lincoln to the 166th Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864. YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <

- - -. Abraham Lincoln To William Tecumseh Sherman, December 26, 1864. YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <

President Abraham Lincoln Second Inaugural Address - Hear and Read the Full Text. YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2013. <
Making Connections
" In 1854 he had briefly mentioned his desire to preserve the territories for 'free white people,' but... he tied the interests of free labor more explictly to the ideals of free society. [Lincoln] "attributed the nation's extraordinary 'prosperity' to the 'cause' that 'every man can make himself,' and he contended that 'to give up that one thing would be to give up all future prosperity." (Peck, 9)
1. Do you agree with Peck's evaluation of Lincoln's philosophy?

2. Where do you see evidence of this in the speeches Lincoln made to the Ohio regiments?
Some Concluding Thoughts
Alexander Peck argues, "Lincoln's devotion to free society is thoroughly nationalist. To Lincoln, universal liberty represented the nation's guiding principle; self-government represented its greatest achievement; free labor represented its prodigious strength; and northern society represented its true character." (Peck 23)
To what extent is Peck's claim, that Lincoln's philosophy was nationalist, valid when considered in the light of the definition presented at the beginning of the presentation?
Looking to the Future:
The Bridge from the Philosophical to the Preagmatic
"Lincoln... rested his hopes on the moral sentiments of the people and sought to turn the people in favor of freedom. Therefore, he told northerners that the Declaration of Independence articulated the moral obligations of American government, and he urged northerners to do their duty by halting slavery's advance and preserving freedom. The precepts of an antislavery nation, and the progress of free society, required no less." (Peck 24)
Thinking about Gettysburg
"While it is remarkably cliché to put a disproportionate weight on the Gettysburg Address, I do believe that the speech is the finest example of Lincoln’s view of nationalism. Lincoln sets the stage for his remarks by taking us back to the first birth of freedom, the Declaration of Independence. Such a remarkable idea, that a country could set as its cornerstone the idea of freedom and equality, was both unprecedented and doomed to fail. Many of the Founding Fathers who had declared all men as created equal created a federal Constitution that designated some Americans as second-class citizens and some as even less. It is that fraying document that Lincoln has held fast to throughout the course of the war and it is the Constitution’s demand for a Union of States that Lincoln suggests has become the moral purpose of the war. The war is a test of the strength of the Union and Lincoln’s call to action is for the American people to keep up the heavy work of making sure that the war’s end brought with it the [re-]establishment of the Union. Lincoln’s speech is both a requiem for the dead as well as a call to the living, both a reflection on the past as well as a projection into the future." (Villwock)
Viewing Guide
As you watch the following video, notice how Lincoln is bridging the gap between his belief in the freedom's articulated in our past and the work that he believed remained before those who were struggling for freedom in the present and future.
Viewing Guide
As you watch the following video, think about how Lincoln's letter to William T. Sherman fits into the theme of Lincoln's emerging, more pragmatic nationalism. Taken together with the 2nd Inaugural address, the letter serves as a touchstone for Lincoln's belief that it was the moral obligation of the American citizenry to ensure the perpetuation of the free republic that the Founding Fathers had established.
Returning to our Focus
Now that you have read and heard from Lincoln and his contemporaries, think about the following:

1. In what ways did Lincoln's philosophy present a nationalistic vision?

2. How did Lincoln's discussion of the slavery issue present the country with a "moral, legal and political" obligation towards freedom?

3. In what ways did Lincoln incorporate contemporary ideas and events into his evolving philosophy of nationalism?

4. How should we understand the call to action found in Lincoln's Civil War-era speeches and letters?

5. Does Lincoln's repeated references to the country's future and the obligations of its citizenry represent a movement away from a passive, philosophical nationalism towards a more active, pragmatic understanding?
Warm-up: I See, I Think, I Wonder
The challenge that America faced in the 1850's and 1860's was, according to Lincoln, an "irrepressible conflict."

Consider this image, a depiction of slavery.

1. What do you see?
(List specific images from the picture)


2. What does it make you think about?
(Make connections to other things you know about)


3. What does it make you wonder about?
(Are there questions you want to ask)


4. What characteristics of slavery were most objectionable to those who opposed the institution?
See the full transcript