Was Lincoln a racist?
Thinking like a Historian
In August of 1858 Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas meet for a series of speeches. Lincoln was interested in taking Douglas’s spot in the Senate. Back in those days many people felt that the blacks were inferior to the white race. Most felt that the white race was the highest ranking race. Lincoln seemed to contradict himself in his response to Douglas. In Lincoln’s response to Douglas (source 3:2) he states that he “has no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists”. I believe Lincoln was saying that it didn’t really concern him if the removed slavery from the states where it already existed. Lincoln felt that the blacks deserved to be treated equal but he also believed that the whites where the superior race. Lincoln is also recorded saying (source 3:2), “but I hold that notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the Negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the declaration of Independence”. So Lincoln wants everybody to be equal but then again he doesn’t. Lincoln also states that in source 3:2 that like Douglas he is also in favor of his race being the superior race. Lincoln was inspired by twelve slaves in Kentucky. In source 3:3 Lincoln writes to a dear friend about these slaves and how the turned the worst conditions tolerable. Lincoln states that one slave was sold because he was too fond of his wife yet the slave didn’t sit around a mope around. Said slave played the fiddle almost continually. Lincoln tells Mary speed about the slaves being chained together like fish on a trot line. Then goes on to say the slaves danced, sang, cracked jokes, and played various games. Lincoln was impressed by the way that the slaves didn’t let perpetual slavery dampen their moods. Colonization of freed blacks was an idea that had been around since the 1700s. Lincoln was in favor of the colonization of slaves. In...
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