“Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” President Abraham Lincoln
President Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. The above remarks were made at the conclusion of one of his early, but influential, speeches.
Lincoln’s remarks, delivered at the Cooper Institute on February 27, 1860, were well received by a crowd of 1500 in New York. The speech was made in opposition to Senator Stephen Douglas’ portrayal of how many Founding Fathers felt about slavery. Lincoln began with a careful analysis of how the 39 men who signed the Constitution would respond to the question: “Does the proper division of local from federal authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbid our Federal Government to control as to slavery in our Federal Territories?”
While Lincoln could not uncover written records documenting the opinion of sixteen of those Founders, he believed that only John Rutledge of South Carolina may have supported the general policy of slavery. He noted that many of those who did not directly address his question in writing had publically denounced slavery including Benjamin Franklin, Gouverneur Morris, and Alexander Hamilton. Lincoln, however, did find written documentation for many of the other men. Lincoln’s conclusion was then as follows: “Here, then, we have twenty-three out of our thirty-nine fathers ‘who framed the government under which we live,’ who have, upon their official responsibility and their corporal oaths, acted upon the very question which the text affirms they ‘’understood just as well, and even better than we do now;’ and twenty-one of them – a clear majority of the whole ‘thirty-nine’ – so acting upon it as to make them guilty of gross political impropriety and willful perjury, if, in their understanding, any proper division between local and federal authority, or anything in the Constitution they had made themselves, and sworn to support, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. Thus the twenty-one acted; and, as actions speak louder than words, so actions, under such responsibility, speak still louder.” He went on to examine the opinions of those in Congress who crafted the Bill of Rights and concluded: “It is surely safe to assume that the thirty-nine framers of the original Constitution, and the seventy-six members of the Congress which framed the amendments thereto, taken together, do certainly include those who may be fairly called ‘our fathers who framed the Government under which we live.’ And so assuming, I defy any man to show that any one of them ever, in his whole life, declared that, in his understanding, any proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. I go a step further. I defy any one to show that any living man in the whole world ever did, prior to the beginning of the present century, (and I might almost say prior to the beginning of the last half of the present century,) declare that, in his understanding, any proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. To those who now so declare, I give, not only ‘our fathers who framed the Government under which we live,’ but with them all other living men within the century in which it was framed, among whom to search, and they shall not be able to find the evidence of a single man agreeing with them.” It should be noted that the quotes in Lincoln’s speech refer to statements which had been made by Douglas.
Read the entire text of his remarks at: http://www.bingoforpatriots.com/american-history/slavery-and-the-founding/cooper-union-address-by-abraham-lincoln/
While President Lincoln’s speech pertained to the question of slavery, we can certainly apply his concluding statement to the present day. We cannot allow negative labels and false accusations to dissuade us. We must not be restrained by fear, and we must not be deterred by those who fear calamity as a result of any change which is made to our bloated federal government. Please take a moment today to consider Lincoln’s words: “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” We must strive to restore our nation to the constitutional republic that was created by our Founders. That will be What IS Right With America.
The attached image was taken in the Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, is located in Denali National Park.