Lincoln: A Majority of Founding Fathers Thought Congress Should Control Slavery In Territories


2nd Lieutenant
Oct 26, 2012
Was Lincoln right? Did the majority of the founding fathers believe Congress should control slavery in the territories, rather than allow it to expand?

"In October 1859 Abraham Lincoln accepted an invitation to lecture at Henry Ward Beecher's church in Brooklyn, New York, and chose a political topic which required months of painstaking research. His law partner William Herndon observed, "No former effort in the line of speech-making had cost Lincoln so much time and thought as this one," a remarkable comment considering the previous year's debates with Stephen Douglas.

The carefully crafted speech examined the views of the 39 signers of the Constitution. Lincoln noted that at least 21 of them -- a majority -- believed Congress should control slavery in the territories, rather than allow it to expand. Thus, the Republican stance of the time was not revolutionary, but similar to the Founding Fathers, and should not alarm Southerners, for radicals had threatened to secede if a Republican was elected President."


May 26, 2017
Rhetorically, following his reasoning in this speech and the evidence that supports his claims, yes Congress can and should control slavery in the territories. Interestingly, Lincoln believes the same signers allowed Congress to "interfere with slavery in the states" and he uses the examples of Congressional interference in Mississippi and Louisiana to support that claim.


1st Lieutenant
Jul 25, 2013
I have listened to that speech several times. One of the points he makes is the South refusal to have any discussion with the Republicans on new territories. For all of Jefferson Davis is complaints about the North in his book the rise and fall of the Confederacy and how they were pushing the South into separating is a false statement the South wanted to go including new territories. Look at what they did in Tennessee. The North was never the aggressor and as for our founding fathers they saw no problem with curtailing slavery.