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Abraham Lincoln 234
Abraham Lincoln
1809 - 1865



ABRAHAM LINCOLN
(Page One of Seven)



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Abraham Lincoln was a great president---whether or not you agree with all of his actions---and any clumsy attempt by me to write his biography would be an insult not only to him but also to the many biographers, good and bad, who have already done that. Accordingly, this section on Abraham Lincoln will dedicate itself to providing items about Mr. Lincoln and the Civil War that I find interesting.

There is no agenda or opinion hidden in this section. I have a separate section specifically for my Opinions and I do my best to insure that it does not bleed over into other sections on this site. If you feel that I have not met this objective, I trust that you will tell me.

Anyhow, welcome to the Abraham Lincoln section on this site. I hope you enjoy it!

Content Team
Webmaster usa-civil-war.com
January, 2009

 



 
Lincoln's Position on Secession in 1848
(From His Speech on the Mexican War)



Lincoln's speech
235


In his speech to Congress, January 12, 1848, regarding the Mexican War, Abraham Lincoln said the following:

"Mr. Chairman:

"...Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better-- This is a most valuable, -- a most sacred right -- a right, which we hope and belive, is to liberate the world--Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government, may choose to exercise it--Any portion of the such people of an existing government that can may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of the teritory as they inhabit--More than this, a majority of any portion of the such people of an existing government,-- may revolutionize, putting down a minority, intermingled with, or near about them, who may oppose their movement--Such minority, was precisely the case, of the tories of our own revolution--It is not the qual a quality of revolutions, not to go by old lines, or old laws; but to break up both, and make new ones--..."

[The text is from a Library of Congress transcription of Lincoln's 1848 speech, two pages of which are shown in the image above. The underlines, strike-thru's, and misspellings are part of the transcripion - Ed.]

The Library of Congress, in a footnote, addresses this document and makes reference to the section quoted above as follows:

[Note 1 Lincoln gave his speech on January 12, 1848 on the floor of the House of Representatives. This manuscript is a revised draft of the speech, which he submitted to the Congressional printers for publication in the Congressional Globe Appendix (the names of printers assigned to set up type for different parts of the speech are occasionally visible on the document). Lincoln was initially very proud of this speech, in which he accused President Polk of conscious wrong-doing in calling for war against Mexico on the grounds that he did. While he makes a strong and principled argument against attacking another country unjustly, it must be borne in mind that this is a political speech. With an eye on the upcoming 1848 campaign, Lincoln and his fellow Whigs in Congress were more concerned with finding leverage against Polk and the Democrats, than with attacking the war itself, which indeed was almost over. In fact, the speech attracted more attention (much of it negative) in Illinois, where the war was popular, than it did in Congress, and it appears to have moved President Polk not at all. Lincoln was soon obliged to write to Illinois defending his position against both Whig and Democratic critics. What he said here about the right of revolution would take on an unanticipated resonance at the time of the Civil War.]

[Underline placed for emphasis - Ed.]


[To verify that this information was not taken out of context, you can read the Library of Congress transcription of Lincoln's complete speech, at this LINK. (The section, above, is located about half way through the speech.) -Ed.]



 
ABRAHAM LINCOLN - PAGE 2




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