Speech of the Hon. Abram Lincoln, in Reply to Judge Douglas, 1857

Lincoln’s Reply

Two weeks after Stephen A. Douglas’s remarks, Lincoln spoke before the Illinois House of Representatives. He dismissed the 1857 approval of the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution in Kansas as an “exquisite farce,” because antislavery Kansans boycotted the election. Lincoln also addressed the “erroneous” Dred Scott decision. He warned that Democrats hoped to extend slavery into the territories and he rejected Douglas’s claims about interracial mixing. Lincoln had no interest in debating the equality of the races, seeing that topic as a distraction from the political issue of slavery’s extension west.