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

Speech at Belleville, Illinois [1]

October 18, 1856

. . . . He [Lincoln] showed that there are only two parties and only two questions now before the voters. A Kentuckian, as he is, familiar with Slavery and its evils, he vindicated the cause of free labor, ``that national capital,'' in the language of Col. FREMONT, ``which constitutes the real wealth of this great country, and creates that intelligent power in the masses alone to be relied on as the bulwark of free institutions.'' He showed the tendency and aim of the Sham Democracy to degrade labor to subvert the true ends of Government and build up Aristocracy, Despotism and Slavery. The platforms of BUCHANAN and FREMONT were contrasted, and the opposite tendency of each to the other was shown with the clearness of light. The rights of man were eloquently vindicated. The only object of government, the good of the governed, not the interests of Slaveholders---the securing of life, liberty and the pursuitPage  380 of happiness; this true end of all Government was well enforced. The Kentuckian, LINCOLN, defended the Declaration of American Independence against the attacks of the degenerate Vermonter, DOUGLAS, and against BRECKENRIDGE and the whole ruling class of the South. Here was a Southerner, with eloquence that would bear a comparison with HENRY CLAY'S, defending Liberty and the North against the leaders of the Border Ruffians and Doughfaces of Illinois. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS, the traitor to Freedom, was exposed, and his arguments refuted by LINCOLN. This associate of HECKER [2] referred to the Germans and the noble position taken by them in just and dignified terms. When he called down the blessings of the Almighty on their heads, a thrill of sympathy and pleasure ran through his whole audience. They all rejoiced that clap-traps, false issues and humbugs are powerless with the great heart of Germany in America. LINCOLN and HECKER were inscribed on many banners. . . .


[1]   Belleville Weekly Advocate, October 22, 1856.

[2]   Friedrich K. F. Hecker. See letter to Hecker, September 14, supra.