The "House Divided" speech is one of Abraham Lincoln's best-known speeches.

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Topic Thirteen:  My Personal Stories

Lincoln, in stovepipe hat, with Allan Pinkerton and Gen. John McClernand at Antietam

Emancipation Proclamation

Number Twelve

From Lincolnís Autobiographies and other Sources

[Selection from Abraham Lincoln Papers Collection Library, Library of Congress]



Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman developed a mutual admiration and respect for President Lincoln.  They actually visited him in the White House and gave him advice on how to deal with slavery in the south, and later, Negro soldiers in the Union Army.

Douglass relates, "while in conversation with him [Lincoln], his secretary twice announced Governor Buckingham of Connecticut, one of the noblest and most patriotic of the loyal governors. Mr. Lincoln said: "Tell Governor Buckingham to wait, for I want to have a long talk with my friend, Frederick Douglass."    I interposed and begged him to see the governor at once, as I could wait, but no, he persisted that that he wanted to talk with me and that Governor Buckingham could wait. In his company I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular colour."  

Harriet Tubman wrote a letter to President Lincoln concerning ridding the nation of slavery:  ". . . God won't let Master Lincoln beat the South until he does the right thing. Master Lincoln, he's a great man, and I'm a poor Negro but this Negro can tell Master Lincoln how to save money and young men. He can do it by setting the Negroes free. Suppose there was an awful big snake down there on the floor. He bites you. Folks all scared, because you may die. You send for doctor to cut the bite; but the snake is rolled up there, and while the doctor is doing it, he bites you again. The doctor cuts out that bite; but while he's doing it, the snake springs up and bites you again, and so he keeps doing it, till you kill him. That's what Master Lincoln ought to know. . . ." 

After conferring with these great Negro American leaders and his cabinet, the President would issue his Emancipation Proclamation:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom."  A. Lincoln

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