Lincoln at Peoria, 1854:
[Note: Then as now when politicians seek to pull a fast one on the public they disingenuously appeal to high ideals in an attempt to mislead us into believing they have our best interests at heart. Now it is “free health care for all,” whereas then it was an appeal to “the sacred right of self government” that was used in an attempt to make the expansion of slavery into new states and territories appear to be a positive good thing instead of the despotism that it truly was. Here Lincoln, with the skills of a great lawyer, reacts to the tactic used in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 to abolish the Missouri Compromise of 1820]:
But one great argument in the support of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise…is “the sacred right of self government.” …I trust I understand, and truly estimate the right of self-government. My faith in the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own lies at the foundation of the sense of justice there is in me. I extend the principles to communities of men as well as to individuals…. The doctrine of self government is right–absolutely and eternally right–but it has no just application as here attempted. Or perhaps I should rather say that whether it has such just application depends upon whether a negro is not or is a man. If he is not a man, why in that case, he who is a man, may as a matter of self-government do just as he pleases with him. But if the negro is a man, is it not to that extent, a total destruction of self-government, to say that he too shall not govern himself? When the white man governs himself that is self-government, but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self government—that is despotism. If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that “all men are created equal,” and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another.
Judge Douglas frequently, with bitter irony and sarcasm, paraphrases our argument by saying, “The white people of Nebraska are good enough to govern themselves, but they are not good enough to govern a few miserable negroes!”
Well I doubt not that the people of Nebraska are, and will continue to be as good as the average of people elsewhere. I do not say the contrary. What I do say is, that no man is good enough to govern another man, without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle—the sheet anchor of American republicanism. Our Declaration of Independence says:
“We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.”
I have quoted so much at this time merely to show that according to our ancient faith, the just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed. Now the relation of masters and slaves is, PRO TANTO, a total violation of this principle. The master not only governs the slave without his consent; but he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those which he prescribes for himself. Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in the government and that, and that only, is self government. [Italics and capitals by Lincoln.]
–Abraham Lincoln, from the speech at Peoria, Illinois October 16, 1854.
I have posted here this long quote from Lincoln’s Peoria speech because I believe it is relevant to the current healthcare bills that Obama, Reid and Pelosi are attempting to force upon the American people. The reasons that a clear and sizable majority of the American people do not want any part of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi scheme to take command over one-sixth of the U.S. economy are the same sort of reasons that Lincoln stood against the abolition of the Missouri Compromise by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 that was forced through Congress by slaveholding interests.
The American people will not willingly become slaves. They believe in self government, that our government exists and derives its just power from the consent of the governed. The Triumvirate of Obama, Reid and Pelosi are trying to become our masters and us their slaves, to govern us by a set of rules altogether different from those which they prescribe for themselves. I don’t believe the American people are going to stand for it. This power grab will ultimately fail, just as the similar one attempted in 1854 failed. Lincoln ultimately won out, and America was blessed by a new birth of freedom.