#83 on the list of 150 Most Teachable Lincoln Documents
On This Date
How Historians Interpret
“When William Kellogg, an Illinois Republican congressman, proposed a compromise including extension of the Missouri Compromise line, the paper denounced him: ‘He has sold himself to the slave power.’ Two weeks before Lincoln’s inauguration, the New York Times complained that the Republicans lacked a “settled plan” for dealing with secession. In fact, throughout the crisis Lincoln displayed remarkable consistency He proved willing to compromise on issues had always considered inessential, but refused to countenance any concession that rank the risk of sundering the Republican party and surrendering the results of the election before his administration began. In December 1860 and January 1861, he intervened forcefully in congressional deliberations, something no previous president-elect had done, to delineate what kinds of conciliatory measures he would and would not support.”
— Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 152.
“On December 6, Lincoln wrote to Congressman Kellogg, who had asked him for guidance: ‘Entertain no proposition for a compromise in regard to the extension of slavery. The instant you do, they have us under gain; all our labor is lost, and sooner or later must be done over. Douglas is sure to be again trying to bring in his ‘Pop. Sov.’ Have none of it. The tug has to come & better now than later. You know I think the fugitive slave clause of the constitution ought to be enforced – to put it on the mildest form, ought not to be resisted.’”
– Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (2 volumes, originally published by Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) Unedited Manuscript by Chapter, Lincoln Studies Center, Volume 1, Chapter 17 (PDF), 1938-1939.
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