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SPEECH OF THE HON. ABRAM [sic] LINCOLN, IN REPLY TO JUDGE DOUGLAS [caption title]
[Springfield, Il. June 26, 1857].. 7pp. printed in double-column format. Quarto. Single sheet folded twice, uncut. A fine copy, with the bookplate of James Copley on the blank p.8. In a blue half morocco and cloth case. This speech, delivered on June 26, 1857 in Springfield, Illinois, was a defining moment in Lincoln's political career, propelling him toward his famous run for the Senate against Stephen A. Douglas the following year. It came in direct response to a speech Douglas gave two weeks earlier on Kansas and slavery, the Dred Scott decision, and Utah. In it Lincoln replies to the same burning issues. A sympathetic journalist who was present wrote: "There was no rant - no fustian - no bombast, but there was something in it of more force and power than these; the heart-felt...clothed in the eternal maxims of the purest reasons." Historians since have seen the speech as the real beginning of the Lincoln-Douglas debates during the campaign of 1858. Gerald M. Capers observed that those speeches were "...but forensic repetitions of the points they had already made...." David Herbert Donald calls Lincoln's address "powerful," and says that his reaction to the Dred Scott decision marked a significant turning point in his views on constitutional issues: "never again did he give deference to the ruling of the Supreme Court." Lincoln attacked the Dred Scott decision on two bases. First, he claimed it was based on a misunderstanding of historical principles and the intentions of the Founders, asserting that the heavily Southern Supreme Court had bent the meaning of the Constitution to suit their prejudices. He noted that the Court had reversed itself on previous decisions and suggested so ill-founded an argument could not stand. Second, he argued that a decision that went so manifestly against the will of the people could not stand. Taking the opportunity to clarify his position on slavery, Lincoln rails against Douglas' claim that those who argue blacks are covered by the Constitution "do so only because they want to vote, eat, and sleep, and marry with negroes!" Chief Justice Taney had argued in Dred Scott that those imported to be slaves, whether free or not, were not among those envisioned as "equal" in the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln refuted this, but in a qualified form which well demonstrates the evolution of his thought to this point: "I protest against the 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. In some respects, she certainly is not my equal; but in her natural right to eat the bread she earns with her own hands, she is my equal, and the equal of all others." Lincoln also discusses Douglas' opinions on the Kansas question and the "Mormon War" in Utah. On the matter of Utah, he exposes Douglas' favored revocation of territorial status as a ruse to attach the region to a territory where the slavery question is settled by its inhabitants. On Kansas, he continues to attack Douglas' popular sovereignty principle, arguing that the spread of slavery westward would undermine all of the previous compromises which had held the Union together. Given almost a year before his famous "A House Divided" speech, this marked a dramatic step forward in Lincoln's quest for the Republican Senate nomination. His considerable stage presence and coruscating oratory helped make the speech a tremendous success. The ILLINOIS STATE JOURNAL advertised copies of the speech for sale, while at least two papers (the ILLINOIS STATE CHRONICLE and the CLINTON CENTRAL TRANSCRIPT) printed the text in full. This is the first issue of this separate printing, with Lincoln's first name misspelled; Monaghan records a similar later printing, with Lincoln's name spelled correctly in the title. This pamphlet is extremely rare in the market. The only one we know of to sell in the last twenty years is the copy the Eberstadts offered in 1964, which we later sold to a private collector. There are copies at Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown (the John Hay copy), Cornell, Clements, New York State Library, Indiana University, Illinois Historical, Newberry, and the Huntington. None of these seem to have been acquired later than 1974. This is the James Copley copy, with his bookplate. The last copy to appear at auction was at Parke-Bernet Galleries in 1967. A seminal document in Lincoln's political career. EBERSTADT 165:356. BYRD 2715. THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (http://www.hti.umich.edu/l/lincoln). MONAGHAN 9. OCLC 4397573. MIDLAND NOTES 101:352. David Herbert Donald, LINCOLN (New York, 1995), pp.199-202.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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