— Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865
Lincoln never said these words, but wrote and said some that are very similar to the above quote. As Lincoln's popularity within the Republican Party grew, he was invited to address members of his party throughout the nation. In September 1859 Lincoln gave several speeches to Ohio Republicans. The notes Lincoln used for his 1859 engagements state: "We must not disturb slavery in the states where it exists, because the Constitution, and the peace of the country both forbid us — We must not withhold an efficient fugitive slave law, because the constitution demands it — But we must, by a national policy, prevent the spread of slavery into new territories, or free states, because the constitution does not forbid us, and the general welfare does demand such prevention — We must prevent the revival of the African slave trade, because the constitution does not forbid us, and the general welfare does require the prevention — We must prevent these things being done, by either congresses or courts — The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it —" Source: Abraham Lincoln [September 16-17, 1859<nowiki> http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mal:@field(DOCID+@lit(d0189300))#I379</nowiki>] (Notes for Speech in Kansas and Ohio) http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mal&fileName=mal1/018/0189300/malpage.db&recNum=1 in "Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916." Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois. Lincoln transformed his prior quoted notes in the following words: "I say that we must not interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists, because the Constitution forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do so. We must not withhold an efficient Fugitive Slave law, because the Constitution requires us, as I understand it, not to withhold such a law. But we must prevent the outspreading of the institution, because neither the Constitution nor general welfare requires us to extend it. We must prevent the revival of the African slave trade, and the enacting by Congress of a Territorial slave code. We must prevent each of these things being done by either Congresses or courts. The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congresses and courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." Source: Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio, September 17, 1859 http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/2/5/3253/3253-h/files/2657/2657-h/2657-h.htm#2H_4_0043; in "The Papers And Writings Of Abraham Lincoln, Volume Five, Constitutional Edition", edited by Arthur Brooks Lapsley and released as " The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Papers And Writings Of Abraham Lincoln, Volume Five, by Abraham Lincoln http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/2/5/3253/3253-h/files/2657/2657-h/2657-h.htm" (2009) by Project Gutenberg.
Ref: en.wikiquote.org - Abraham Lincoln / Disputed