President Lincoln in His Own Words

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In his more private communication, he admits that he is simply against slavery and, while he is committed to upholding the rights of the southerner to own slaves, he does not see where the state of Kansas had a legal right to vote on the question of slavery. While his public appeals remain firmly rooted in reasonable and relatively settled law, his private appeal is angry, accusing his friend of offering violence for behavior against him while insisting this same behavior, used in support of his position be accepted without question. In other words, he is pointing out the many ways Speed and his friends are hypocrites of convenience.The arguments he uses in both cases include an acknowledgment of the real rights of other citizens who do not see the world as he does. He admits that he has no ready answers for the slavery question and he insists that he is not trying to introduce any change that would cause the institution or its enforcement to stop in those areas where it is already practiced as a matter of necessity to the economy of the region. However, his arguments against allowing Kansas to become a slave state are very different. In both cases, though, he clearly states that he is not trying to abolish slavery everywhere, he’s just against allowing it to spread anywhere it isn’t already practiced.In his public communications, Lincoln’s language and reasoning are characterized by concise reference to precedent, such as when he provides a succinct timeline of lawmakers attempting to limit and narrowly define slavery. He uses careful reasoning to point out how there is a difference between permitting slavery to continue in an area whose economy is already founded upon slave labor as opposed to slavery as a right of white men attempting to populate a new region. This is compared to his more private appeals, which are characterized by stronger sentiments and more direct reference. For example, in his letter, he reminds Joshua Speed about the slaves they traveled with one time on the Ohio River and reflects on how thismade him feel.