Chapter 5: the political situation
In several of his addresses before his election to the Presidency, Mr. Lincoln
gave utterance to the following language: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this Government cannot permanently remain half slave and half free.
I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it to cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other thing.”
The same opinion had been enunciated several years before by John Quincy Adams
on the floor of Congress, when, with his accustomed pungency, he declared, “The Union will fall before slavery or slavery will fall before the Union
But before either Adams
spoke on the subject-away back in 1838-the same idea they expressed had a more elaborate and forcible presentation in the following words:
The conflict is becoming — has become — not alone of freedom for the blacks, but of freedom for the whites.
It has now become absolutely necessary that slavery shall cease in order that freedom may be preserved in any portion of our land.
The antagonistic principles of liberty and slavery have been roused into action, and one or the other must be victorious.
There will be no