Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Fragment on Slavery [b]

[April 1, 1854?]

If A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B.---why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A?---

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter,Page  223 having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly?---You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest, you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you.

Annotation

[1]   AD, The date assigned to this single page by Nicolay and Hay has been retained. Although probably not a part of the same document as the companion fragment, supra, it seems just as likely to belong to a later period.