Fragment: Notes for Speeches

31

I believe the declaration that "all men are created equal" is the great fundamental principle upon which our free institutions rest. That negro slavery is violative of that principle; but that by our form of government that principle has not been made one of legal obligation. That by our form of government the States which have slavery are to retain or disuse it, at their own pleasure; and that all others--individuals, free States, and National Government--are constitutionally bound to leave them alone about it. That our government was thus framed because of the necessity springing from the actual presence of slavery when it was formed.