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When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery than we are, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists, and that it is very difficult to get rid of it in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me that whatever of high hope (as I think there is) there may be in this in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days; and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery at any rate, yet the point is not clear enough for me to denounce people upon. What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially our equals. My own feelings will not admit of this, and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of whites will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment is not the sole question, if indeed it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well or ill founded, cannot be safely disregarded. We cannot then make them equals. It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted, but for their tardiness in this I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the South. Abraham Lincoln

Tags:

When

Southern

people

tell

us

they

are

no

more

responsible

for

the

origin

of

slavery

than

we

are



I

acknowledge

the

fact



When

it

is

said

that

the

institution

exists



and

that

it

is

very

difficult

to

get

rid

of

it

in

any

satisfactory

way



I

can

understand

and

appreciate

the

saying



I

surely

will

not

blame

them

for

not

doing

what

I

should

not

know

how

to

do

myself



If

all

earthly

power

were

given

me



I

should

not

know

what

to

do

as

to

the

existing

institution



My

first

impulse

would

be

to

free

all

the

slaves



and

send

them

to

Liberia



to

their

own

native

land



But

a

moment

s

reflection

would

convince

me

that

whatever

of

high

hope

(as

I

think

there

is)

there

may

be

in

this

in

the

long

run



its

sudden

execution

is

impossible



If

they

were

all

landed

there

in

a

day



they

would

all

perish

in

the

next

ten

days



and

there

are

not

surplus

shipping

and

surplus

money

enough

to

carry

them

there

in

many

times

ten

days



What

then



Free

them

all



and

keep

them

among

us

as

underlings



Is

it

quite

certain

that

this

betters

their

condition



I

think

I

would

not

hold

one

in

slavery

at

any

rate



yet

the

point

is

not

clear

enough

for

me

to

denounce

people

upon



What

next



Free

them



and

make

them

politically

and

socially

our

equals



My

own

feelings

will

not

admit

of

this



and

if

mine

would



we

well

know

that

those

of

the

great

mass

of

whites

will

not



Whether

this

feeling

accords

with

justice

and

sound

judgment

is

not

the

sole

question



if

indeed

it

is

any

part

of

it



A

universal

feeling



whether

well

or

ill

founded



cannot

be

safely

disregarded



We

cannot

then

make

them

equals



It

does

seem

to

me

that

systems

of

gradual

emancipation

might

be

adopted



but

for

their

tardiness

in

this

I

will

not

undertake

to

judge

our

brethren

of

the

South



Abraham

Lincoln



 Good Luck!