Lincoln/Douglas Debates Term Paper

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Eric Wheeler Period 2 December 17, 1996 AP US History - Lincoln/Douglas Debates - In 1858, Lincoln challenged Douglas for his seat in the senate. Lincoln asked him four questions, in which he tried to make Douglas make a mistake resulting in either the north, or the south to loose Douglas's favor. The questions were as follows: Question 1: "If the people of Kansas shall, by means entirely unobjectionable in all other respects, adopt a state constitution, and ask admission into the Union under it before they have the requisite number of inhabitants according to the English Bill --some ninety-three thousand--will you vote to admit them?" Question 2: "Can the people of a United states territory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a state constitution?" Question 3: "If the Supreme Court of the United States shall decide that states cannot exclude slavery from their limits, are you in favor of acquiescing in, adopting, and following such decision as a rule of political action?" Question 4: "First ... in reference to Kansas, it is my opinion that as she has population enough to constitute a slave state, she has people enough for a free State. I will not make Kansas an exceptional case to the other States of the Union ... Either Kansas must come in as a free State, with whatever population she may have or the rule must be applied to all the other Territories alike ...?" As Douglas answered Lincoln's questions, the document

implies that Douglas is either in rage or insulted by what Lincoln had asked, and replied as follows: In question number one, Douglas answered emphatically, as he had several times in Illinois before, that a territory or state can exclude slavery from its limits without the formation of a state constitution. Douglas then continues saying that to continue slavery, even for another hour, there must be sufficient legal enforcement so that people can ensure that their slaves will work. If that state would like to be either free or slave, then the people of the state would elect officials that were for or against slavery which would in turn make the state free or slave because of the officials running the state. In response to question number three, Douglas states that violating the constitution of the United States would not only be moral treason, but impossible. Douglas also compares this question to the simplicity of a question that a school boy could answer; "A school boy knows better". This document constantly brings up slavery several times throughout. This leads me to conclude that slavery was a large part in leading up to this. If the need for cheap labor hadn't arose in the early colonization period of our country, then conflicts like the Civil War, fugitive slavery laws, and racial revolts probably would have been averted. The text book has very little on this document, and covers just the first question that Lincoln asked Douglas. Both sources say that it didn't matter weather Douglas disavowed popular sovereignty, he would be defeated for reelection and his political career would be over. If he agreed, then he would offend the southern democrats and the nomination of 1860 could possibly never take place.

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