“A House Divided” Speech (16 June 1858)
In a brilliant and fearless analysis of the slavery conflict in the United States that would become known as “A House Divided,” Abraham Lincoln addressed the Illinois Republican Party convention in 1858. Having just been nominated its candidate for the United States Senate, he attacked his Democratic opponent, Stephen A. Douglas, as being part of a conspiracy to spread slavery to the entire country. In this speech Lincoln went to the heart of the mass of conflicts and contradictions that had gathered around this crucial issue and cut away all the demagogic debris. Outlining the legislative and judicial steps that were carrying the country further and further from its democratic ideals, Lincoln warned that there was no longer any bar to the ownership of slavery in any of the states and territories.
In addition to its importance in understanding the slavery issue this speech is crucial in the viewing the ...