“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
– Abraham Lincoln
Obviously there are as many quotes which show his hatred for slavery and his belief that all men should have the freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Furthermore, it should be noted that this quote comes from the context of his senatorial debates with Douglas, which he lost in part because of his ‘radical’ positions on slavery (e.g. the “House Divided” speech). Yet, he was also a member of the Colonization society for much of his political career. This society advocated both the emancipation and the transport of African Americans to a Caribbean island or to Africa. I posted this quote and these comments because I think it’s important to remember historical figures as they were, not as we wish they would have been.