Abraham Lincoln and Executive Power Print E-mail
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution
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LETTER TO A. H. STEPHENS


For your own eye only.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Dec. 22d, l860.
Hon. A. H. Stephens.
My Dear Sir: Your obliging answer to my short note is just received, and for which please accept my thanks. I fully appreciate the present peril the country is in, and the weight of responsibility on me. Do the people of the South really entertain fears that a Republican administration would, directly or indirectly, interfere with the slaves, or with them about the slaves? If they do, I wish to answer you, as once a friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy, that there is no cause for such fears. The South would be in no more danger in this respect than it was in the time of Washington. I suppose, however, this does not meet the case. You think slavery is right and ought to be extended, while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. That, I suppose, is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us. Yours very truly,
A. Lincoln.

Source:  The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine. XXXV: 82. New York: The Century Co., 1888.