A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. Abraham Lincoln, 1858
Lincoln’s prediction was in large part a response to the infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision a year earlier which effectively turned Illinois into a slave state by stripping traveling slaves of their rights. By this time slavery was simply unconscionable to much of the North and Lincoln recognized that the situation had become untenable. It’s not clear whether he intended his Biblical allusion as a prophecy or threat. But he certainly might have added, “And I will lead the nation to war to prove it.” Which he did, 3 years later. The South protected their franchise on exploitation and mischief tenaciously, killing half a million Northerners.
The Civil War is still being waged to this day by moral relativists who insist it was “not about slavery but states’ rights.” They believe that morality is determined by the vicissitudes of power and buttress their claim with facts like “Slavery still exists in places around the world.” As if slavery isn’t as evil as we were lead to believe, or maybe we don’t really care about it after all. Continue reading A House Divided