Abortion, Democracy and History
When Sen. Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln faced off in a debate in Peoria, Illinois, in 1854, the issue tearing apart the nation was slavery.
A central issue was whether slavery would be permitted in new territories entering the union.
Douglas' answer to the question was politics. Lincoln's answer was morality and the Bible.
Douglas' answer to slavery in new states, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, was democracy. Citizens would vote to permit or not permit slavery in their state.
Lincoln opposed the expansion of what he saw as the inherently evil institution of slavery.
In the Peoria debate, Lincoln stated, "Judge Douglas interrupted me to say that the principle of the Nebraska bill was very old: that it originated when God made man and placed good and evil before him, allowing him to choose for himself, being responsible for the choice he should make."
Lincoln's answer was, "God did not place good and evil before man, telling him to make his choice. On the contrary, he did tell him there was one tree, of the fruit of which he should not eat, on pain of certain death."
Lincoln argued, essentially, that at the heart of political freedom stands man's free choice and that the choices man makes have profound importance and consequences.
Douglas argued that the most important thing is that we can choose. Lincoln argued that the most important thing is what we choose.
Now here we are, almost 170 years after Lincoln and Douglas faced off in Peoria, and the nation is at a similar crossroads in another issue of grave moral consequence -- our responsibilities to the unborn.