"That central idea in our political system at the beginning was, and until recently continued to be, the equality of men. And although it was always submitted patiently to, whatever inequality there seemed to be, as a matter of actual necessity, its constant working has been a steady progress toward the practical equality of all men. In what I have done I cannot claim to have acted from any peculiar consideration of the colored people as a separate and distinct class in the community, but from the simple conviction that all the individuals of that class are members of the community, and in virtue of their manhood entitled to every original right enjoyed by any other member. We feel, therefore, that all legal distinction between individuals of the same community, founded in any such circumstances as color, origin and the like, are hostile to the genius of our institutions, and incompatible with the true history of American liberty. Slavery and oppression must cease, or American liberty must perish.
Photograph by William Marsh, May 20, 1860, Springfield, Illinois. One of five photographs taken by William Marsh for Marcus Lawrence Ward. Although many in the East had read Lincoln's impassioned speeches, few had actually seen the Representative from Illinois. Colorized photograph prior to Lincoln growing a beard in November of that year.
In Massachusetts, and in most, if not all, the New-England States, the colored man and the white are absolutely equal before the law.
In New-York the colored man is restricted as to the right of suffrage by a property qualification. In other respects the same equality prevails.
I embrace with pleasure this opportunity of declaring my disapprobation of that clause of the Constitution [of Illinois], which, denies to a portion of the colored people the right of suffrage.
True Democracy makes no inquiry about the color of the skin or place of nativity, or any other similar circumstance of condition. I regard, therefore, the exclusion of the colored people as a body from the elective franchise as incompatible with the true Democratic principle."
December 26, 1860 - Atlas & Argus, Albany, New York, (weekly: 1856-1865)The above Lincoln quote paints the picture of a politician who firmly believed in the social equality of Colored and White people in the United States. In reality, Lincoln NEVER said these words and he vehemently denied that he ever did!
There has been a lot of fabricated stories, comments, and quotes attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Every claim of what Lincoln said MUST be verified.
A Listing of Unfounded Quotes Attributed to Abraham Lincoln.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.