Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02.
of attempting to preserve a forced and therefore fruitless union, that we should peacefully part, and each pursue his separate course....  States in their sovereign capacity have now resolved to judge of the infractions of the Federal compact and of the mode and measure of redress....  I would not give the parchment on which the bill would be written which is to secure our constitutional rights within the limits of a State where the people are all opposed to the execution of that law.  It is a truism in free governments that laws rest upon public opinion, and fall powerless before its determined opposition.

To all that had so far been said, Senator Wade, of Ohio, made, on the 17th day of December, a frank and direct as well as strong and eloquent reply, which was at once generally accepted by the Republican party of the Senate and the country as their well-considered and unalterable position on the crisis.  Said he: 

I have already said that these gentlemen who make these complaints have for a long series of years had this Government in their own keeping.  They belong to the dominant majority....  Therefore, if there is anything in the legislation of the Federal Government that is not right, you and not we are responsible for it....  You have had the legislative power of the country, and you have had the executive of the country, as I have said already.  You own the Cabinet, you own the Senate, and I may add, you own the President of the United States, as much as you own the servant upon your own plantation.  I cannot see then very clearly why it is that Southern men can rise here and complain of the action of this Government....  Are we the setters forth of any new doctrines under the Constitution of the United States?  I tell you nay.  There is no principle held to-day by this great Republican party that has not had the sanction of your Government in every department for more than seventy years.  You have changed your opinions.  We stand where we used to stand, That is the only difference....  Sir, we stand where Washington stood, where Jefferson stood, where Madison stood, where Monroe stood.  We stand where Adams and Jackson and even Polk stood.  That revered statesman, Henry Clay, of blessed memory, with his dying breath asserted the doctrine that we hold to-day....  As to compromises, I had supposed that we were all agreed that the day of compromises was at an end.  The most solemn compromises we have ever made have been violated without a whereas.  Since I have had a seat in this body, one of considerable antiquity, that had stood for more than thirty years, was swept away from your statute books....  We nominated our candidates for President and Vice-President, and you did the same for yourselves.  The issue was made up and we went to the people upon it; ... and we beat you upon the plainest and most palpable issue that ever was presented to the American people, and one that they understood the best.  There is no mistaking it; and now when
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Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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