„Thus you see, that when addressing the Chicago Abolitionists he declared that all distinctions of race must be discarded and blotted out, because the negro stood on an equal footing with the white man; that if one man said the Declaration of Independence did not mean a negro when it declared all men created equal, that another man would say that it did not mean another man; and hence we ought to discard all difference between the negro race and all other races, and declare them all created equal“

—  Stephen A. Douglas, 1860s, Context: You know that in his Charleston speech, an extract from which he has read, he declared that the negro belongs to an inferior race; is physically inferior to the white man, and should always be kept in an inferior position. I will now read to you what he said at Chicago on that point. In concluding his speech at that place, he remarked, 'My friends, I have detained you about as long as I desire to do, and I have only to say let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man-this race and that race, and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position, discarding our standard that we have left us. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal'. Thus you see, that when addressing the Chicago Abolitionists he declared that all distinctions of race must be discarded and blotted out, because the negro stood on an equal footing with the white man; that if one man said the Declaration of Independence did not mean a negro when it declared all men created equal, that another man would say that it did not mean another man; and hence we ought to discard all difference between the negro race and all other races, and declare them all created equal. Sixth Lincoln-Douglas debate https://cwcrossroads.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/race-and-slavery-north-and-south-some-logical-fallacies/#comment-47553, (13 October 1860), Quincy, Illinois
Stephen A. Douglas foto
Stephen A. Douglas10
American politician 1813 - 1861
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Abraham Lincoln foto

„Now, I say to you, my fellow-citizens, that in my opinion the signers of the Declaration had no reference to the negro whatever when they declared all men to be created equal. They desired to express by that phrase, white men, men of European birth and European descent, and had no reference either to the negro, the savage Indians, the Fejee, the Malay, or any other inferior and degraded race, when they spoke of the equality of men. One great evidence that such was their understanding, is to be found in the fact that at that time every one of the thirteen colonies was a slaveholding colony, every signer of the Declaration represented a slave-holding constituency, and we know that no one of them emancipated his slaves, much less offered citizenship to them when they signed the Declaration, and yet, if they had intended to declare that the negro was the equal of the white man, and entitled by divine right to an equality with him, they were bound, as honest men, that day and hour to have put their negroes on an equality with themselves.“

—  Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865
Misattributed, Attributed at a few sites to a debate in Peoria, Illinois with Stephen Douglas on 16 October 1858. No historical record of such a debate actually exists, though there was a famous set of speeches by both in Peoria on 16 October 1854, but transcripts of Lincoln's speech http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=lincoln;cc=lincoln;type=simple;rgn=div1;q1=cleaver;view=text;subview=detail;sort=occur;idno=lincoln2;node=lincoln2%3A282 on that date do not indicate that he made such a statement. It in fact comes from a speech made by Douglas in the third debate http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=lincoln;cc=lincoln;type=simple;rgn=div1;q1=fejee;view=text;subview=detail;sort=occur;idno=lincoln3;node=lincoln3%3A17 against Lincoln at Jonesboro, Illinois on 15 September 1858.

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„These are the laws that truly declare the eternal equality of all men, of all races, before the man-made laws of our land“

—  Dwight D. Eisenhower American general and politician, 34th president of the United States (in office from 1953 to 1961) 1890 - 1969
1950s, Address at the Philadelphia Convention Hall (1956), Context: So it is that the laws most binding us as a people are laws of the spirit—proclaimed in church and synagogue and mosque. These are the laws that truly declare the eternal equality of all men, of all races, before the man-made laws of our land. And we are profoundly aware that—in the world—we can claim the trust of hundreds of millions of people, across Africa and Asia—only as we ourselves hold high the banner of justice for all.

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Abraham Lincoln foto
Abraham Lincoln foto
Stephen A. Douglas foto

„Lincoln maintains there that the Declaration of Independence asserts that the negro is equal to the white man, and that under Divine law, and if he believes so it was rational for him to advocate negro citizenship, which, when allowed, puts the negro on an equality under the law. I say to you in all frankness, gentlemen, that in my opinion a negro is not a citizen, cannot be, and ought not to be, under the Constitution of the United States. I will not even qualify my opinion to meet the declaration of one of the Judges of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, “that a negro descended from African parents, who was imported into this country as a slave is not a citizen, and cannot be.” I say that this Government was established on the white basis. It was made by white men, for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and never should be administered by any except white men. I declare that a negro ought not to be a citizen, whether his parents were imported into this country as slaves or not, or whether or not he was born here. It does not depend upon the place a negro’s parents were born, or whether they were slaves or not, but upon the fact that he is a negro, belonging to a race incapable of self-government, and for that reason ought not to be on an equality with white men.“

—  Stephen A. Douglas American politician 1813 - 1861
1850s, Fourth Lincoln-Douglass Debate http://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/debate4.htm (September 1858)

Abraham Lincoln foto

„As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy“

—  Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865
1850s, Letter to Joshua F. Speed (1855), Context: You enquire where I now stand. That is a disputed point. I think I am a whig; but others say there are no whigs, and that I am an abolitionist. When I was at Washington I voted for the Wilmot Proviso as good as forty times, and I never heard of any one attempting to unwhig me for that. I now do more than oppose the extension of slavery. I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic]. Letter to longtime friend and slave-holder Joshua F. Speed (24 August 1855)

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Abraham Lincoln foto

„I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal; equal in "certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."“

—  Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865
1850s, Speech on the Dred Scott Decision (1857), This they said, and this meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere. The assertion that "all men are created equal" was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, nor for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack. I have now briefly expressed my view of the meaning and objects of that part of the Declaration of Independence which declares that "all men are created equal".

Harry V. Jaffa foto

„Negroes, whether free or slave, have always seen America itself as the promised land. Both Christianity and the Declaration of Independence embodied promise to all men. They saw no better or equal hope anywhere else, and certainly not in Africa“

—  Harry V. Jaffa American historian and collegiate professor 1918 - 2015
2000s, A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War (2000), Context: There is a further and deeper reason why colonization failed and why all subsequent attempts to return Americans of African descent to Africa, even those originating solely within the black community, have failed. The reason is that the overwhelming majority of these Americans regard their destiny to be in the United States. They were, after all, sold into slavery originally by black tribesmen, who captured them in order to sell them, and who slaughtered the ones they did not sell. No resent of slavery, however profound, engendered any love of a mythical African homeland. To have asked them to return to Africa was not unlike asking American Jews whose parents or grandparents fled czarist or Stalinist tyranny to return to Russia. However involuntary their emigration from Africa, American Negroes, whether free or slave, have always seen America itself as the promised land. Both Christianity and the Declaration of Independence embodied promise to all men. They saw no better or equal hope anywhere else, and certainly not in Africa. The truth is that the slaves, ignorant and illiterate as they may have seemed, were far from unintelligent. The Bible that they heard about, even if they were not allowed to read it, contained stories that convinced them that the same God that had freed the children of Israel would free them. Jefferson Davis might have thought this to be mere credulity. Yet it certainly compared favorably with his own absurd reading of the story of Noah. p. 164

Abraham Lincoln foto

„When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government — that is despotism. If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that "all men are created equal," and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man's making a slave of another.“

—  Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865
1850s, Speech at Peoria, Illinois (1854), Context: "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." At the hazard of being thought one of the fools of this quotation, I meet that argument — I rush in — I take that bull by the horns. I trust I understand and truly estimate the right of self-government. My faith in the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own lies at the foundation of the sense of justice there is in me. I extend the principle to communities of men as well as to individuals. I so extend it because it is politically wise, as well as naturally just: politically wise in saving us from broils about matters which do not concern us. Here, or at Washington, I would not trouble myself with the oyster laws of Virginia, or the cranberry laws of Indiana. The doctrine of self-government is right, — absolutely and eternally right, — but it has no just application as here attempted. Or perhaps I should rather say that whether it has such application depends upon whether a negro is not or is a man. If he is not a man, in that case he who is a man may as a matter of self-government do just what he pleases with him. But if the negro is a man, is it not to that extent a total destruction of self-government to say that he too shall not govern himself. When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government — that is despotism. If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that "all men are created equal," and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man's making a slave of another.

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John Quincy Adams foto

„The first steps of the slaveholder to justify by argument the peculiar instutitions is to deny the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence. He denies that all men are created equal. He denies that he has inalienable rights.“

—  John Quincy Adams American politician, 6th president of the United States (in office from 1825 to 1829) 1767 - 1848
Letter to the 12th Congressional District (1839), As quoted in letter to the citizens of the twelfth congressional district (29 June 1839), The Hingham Patriot, MA. As quoted in Thomas Huges Rare and Early Newspaper catalog, No. 141

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