Lincoln-Douglas Debates - Essay Example

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This is evident in his debate with Senator Douglas on slavery where most of his responses were based on law and not fully opinionated. This gave him…
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Lincoln-Douglas Debates
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Lincoln-Douglas Debates Abraham Lincoln was a self-educated lawyer for the Republicans and alsohad excellent skills in debate (Henretta and Kevin 332). This is evident in his debate with Senator Douglas on slavery where most of his responses were based on law and not fully opinionated. This gave him an edge over others when it came to discussions involving law or politics as he always followed the constitution. His answers were however not very direct and especially when it came to matters of slavery.
Based on his speech during the debate with Senator Douglas, it is evident that Abraham Lincoln did not support slave trade and his personal opinion was that there should be no more slaves being brought in to America. He also insisted that he would be happy to abolish slave trade and slavery “I should be exceedingly glad to see slavery abolished in the District of Columbia.” His lack of support for the slavery was however not that passionate and he would not put in personal effort to see it end unless Congress as a whole made that decision based on the power the constitution had accorded them. He made this position very clear in his speech when he said “…I should not with my present views be in favor of endeavoring to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia… (Henretta and Kevin 333)”
His position on slavery was legal as he based everything on the constitution. This is evident for example when he said that he would abolish slavery because he was a member of the Congress and the Congress had the constitutional power to abolish it through changing or amending the slavery laws that were currently present. He also gave a number of legal conditions in which he would abolish slavery including if the majority of the voters in the District of Columbia voted for it to be abolished and also if the owners of those slaves were to be compensated for having to part with their slaves who were their laborers.
An individual watching this speech would expect that once Lincoln becomes the president, he would honor his words by using his constitutional power to abolish slavery or influence the Congress to amend the constitution and especially the clauses that allow slavery as a way to abolish slavery. These expectations are based on the fact that Lincoln was a man who knew law very well and followed it to the letter and he was also a man of actions and especially when it is something he desired. If his desires were therefore on abolishing slavery, he would have made that happen as soon as he became president. His desires to abolish slavery based on his speech are not that strong.
Slavery however does not seem to bother him a lot and his priorities are not focused on the slaves themselves but on owners of the slaves who were the majority voters. This was clear in his speech when he gave the three conditions that would make him support the bid by Congress to abolish slavery “…second that it should be on a vote of the majority of qualified voters in the District and third, that compensation should be made to unwilling owners.”
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Henretta, James, and Kevin, Fernlund. Documents for Americas History, Volume 1: To 1877. New York: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2011. Print. Read More
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