In this speech in the 1858 senatorial campaign, Lincoln goes on the offensive against Douglas and the Dred Scott decision of the preceding year. He draws a sharp contrast between Douglas’s professed indifference to the expansion of slavery and his own view that “slavery [is] a moral, social and political wrong.” To allow the extension of this wrong – as the Kansas–Nebraska Act (1854) and the Dred Scott decision (1857) do – is to aid and abet evil.
I have been requested to give a concise statement, as I understand it, of the difference between the Democratic and the Republican parties on the leading issues of this campaign. The question has just been put to me by a gentleman whom I do not know. I do not even know whether he is a friend of mine or a supporter of Judge Douglas in this contest; nor does that make any difference. His question is a pertinent one and, though it has not been asked me anywhere in the State before, I am very glad that my attention has been called to it to-day. Lest I should forget it, I will give you my answer before proceeding with the line of argument I had marked out for this discussion.
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