The last joint debate, at Alton, October 15, 1858.
Ladies and Gentlemen
: It is now nearly four months since the canvass between Mr. Lincoln
and myself commenced.
On the 16th of June the Republican Convention assembled at Springfield
and nominated Mr. Lincoln
as their candidate for the United States Senate, and he, on that occasion, delivered a speech in which he laid down what he understood to be the Republican
creed and the platform on which he proposed to stand during the contest.
The principal points in that speech of Mr. Lincoln
's were : First, that this Government could not endure permanently divided into free and slave States, as our fathers made it ; that they must all become free or all become slave ; all become one thing or all become the other, otherwise this Union could not continue to exist.
I give you his opinions almost in the identical language he used.
His second proposition was a crusade against the Supreme Court of the United States
because of the Dred Scott
decision ; urging as an especial reason for his opposition to that decision that it deprived the negroes of the rights and benefits of that clause in the Constitution of the United States
which guaranties to the citizens of each State all the rights, privileges, and immunities of the citizens of the several States.
On the 10th of July I returned home, and delivered a speech to the people of Chicago
, in which I announced it to be my purpose to appeal to the people of Illinois
to sustain the course I had pursued in Congress.
In that speech I joined issue with Mr. Lincoln
on the points which he had presented.
Thus there was an issue clear and distinct made up between us on these two propositions laid down in the speech of Mr. Lincoln
, and controverted by me in my reply to him at Chicago
On the next day, the 11th of July, Mr. Lincoln
replied to me at Chicago
, explaining at some length, and reaffirming the positions which he had taken in his Springfield
In that Chicago
speech he even went further than he had before, and uttered sentiments in regard to the negro being on an equality with the white man. He adopted in support of this position the argument which Lovejoy
, and other Abolition lecturers had made familiar in the northern and central portions of the State
, to wit: that the Declaration of Independence
having declared all men free and equal, by Divine law, also that negro equality was an inalienable right, of which they could not be deprived.
He insisted, in that speech, that the Declaration of Independence
included the negro in the clause, asserting that all men were created equal, and went so far as to say that if one man was allowed to take the position, that it did not include the negro, others might take the position that it did not include other men. He said that, all these distinctions between this man and that man, this race and the other race, must be discarded, and we must all stand by the Declaration of Independence
, declaring that all men were created equal.
The issue thus being made up between Mr. Lincoln
and myself on three points, we went before the people of the State
During the following seven weeks, between the Chicago
speeches and our first meeting at Ottawa
, he and I addressed large assemblages of the people in many of the central counties.
In my speeches I confined myself closely to those three positions which he had taken, controverting his proposition that this Union could not exist as our fathers made it, divided into free and slave States, controverting his proposition of a crusade against the Supreme Court because of the Dred Scott
decision, and controverting his proposition that the Declaration of Independence
included and meant the negroes as well as the white men, when it declared all men to be created equal.
I supposed at that time that