I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.
Lincoln on race and slavery edited and introduced by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ; coedited by Donald Yacovone Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c 2009 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. lxviii, 343 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, “It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly; and in their places be, pari passu [on an equal basis], filled up by free white laborers.”
Generations of Americans have debated the meaning of Abraham Lincoln’s views on race and slavery. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation and supported a constitutional amendment to outlaw slavery, yet he also harbored grave doubts about the intellectual capacity of African Americans, publicly used the n-word until at least 1862, and favored permanent racial segregation. In this book – the first complete collection of Lincoln’s important writings on both race and slavery – readers can explore these contradictions through Lincoln’s own words. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., presents the full range of Lincoln’s views, gathered from his private letters, speeches, official documents, and even race jokes, arranged chronologically from the late 1830s to the 1860s.
Complete with definitive texts, rich historical notes, and an original introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this book charts the progress of a war within Lincoln himself. We witness his struggles with conflicting aims and ideas – a hatred of slavery and a belief in the political equality of all men, but also anti-black prejudices and a determination to preserve the Union even at the cost of preserving slavery.
Our republican system was meant for a homogeneous people. As long as blacks continue to live with the whites they constitute a threat to the national life. Family life may also collapse and the increase of mixed breed bastards may some day challenge the supremacy of the white man.
At turns inspiring and disturbing, Lincoln on Race and Slavery is indispensable for understanding what Lincoln’s views meant for his generation.