• Inside the Lincoln Sitting Room

    Lincoln Home

    National Historic Site Illinois

Lincoln on the Difference Between North and South

December 22, 1860: Letter to Alexander Stephens

Do the people of the South really entertain fears that a Republican administration would, directly, or indirectly, interfere with their slaves, or with them, about their slaves? If they do, I wish to assure you, as once a friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy, that there is no cause for such fears. The South would be in no more danger in this respect, than it was in the days of Washington. I suppose, however, this does not meet the case. You think slavery is right, and ought to be extended; while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us.

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Lincoln Home

Robert Lincoln donated the family home in Springfield to the State of Illinois in 1887 under the condition that it would always be open free to the public and well maintained. Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois