Essay: Lincoln-Douglas Debates: Voter Switches From Democrat to Republican

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[. . .] These are inhumane, unbelievably cruel acts that must stop.

At this point I would like to point out that my own daughter has been a volunteer with the Underground Railroad, the organization that assists negroes that have escaped from the cruelty of slavery in the South. My daughter has been a volunteer at Galesburg, Illinois, and in Milton, Wisconsin. She is one of the main reasons I changed my mind about slavery. Because I am a Christian and attend church regularly, I always had doubts about the morality of slavery. But the argument about the economy of the South -- and the need to keep slaves so the field work could be done -- did enter into my justification for slavery earlier in my life.

But my daughter was so passionate about helping runaway slaves, and about the need to change the direction of our country, she made an enormous impression on me day after day as she related the stories of the people she was helping. There were terrible scars on the backs and legs of some of the negroes that arrived at the hiding place in Galesburg, and my daughter cried when describing those injuries to me.

As I write this letter to the editor, I can picture the terrible welts on the back of this one man my daughter helped; he had been whipped at least once a week while he was tied at the wrists and lifted up off the ground. He was given no medical relief, and was forced to dig fence post holes while flies and other insects landed on his bloody black.

My daughter lived with a family in Galesburg for a year, helping the Underground Railroad. She cooked meals and provided clothing for escaped negroes. Others in the community brought blankets, shoes, and other clothing so the negroes would be warm and comfortable as they fled further north into Wisconsin, Minnesota, and even into Canada, where they were protected by law.

When she was in Milton, Wisconsin, the owners of the Milton House provided her a small room for sleeping, and she helped provide hot water for the negroes to bathe after they arrived. She also helped some of the younger negroes learn enough English so they could converse fluently. The Milton House is an inn, but it is also stop on the Underground Railroad that has a series of tunnels where the negroes can hide when unknown visitors arrive. Before the Wisconsin legislature passed laws against bounty hunters coming into the state, bounty hunters did arrive in Milton, but they were disguised as regular guests.

My daughter, my wonderful spiritual and loving daughter, was able to detect these imposters and could warn the proprietors of the Milton House that interlopers were on hand to find runaway negroes. I am proud of her and I give her credit for her courage and Christian ethics when it comes to the issue of slavery vs. freedom.

The Democrat Party has supported slavery and has supported the Fugitive Slave Law, and I was never certain that I could sustain my support for those positions. But after my daughter and her friends (and others) came to me with their person stories based on their volunteer work with the Underground Railroad, my mind was changed.

And then, when the Lincoln-Douglas debates were here in Freeport, and I had an opportunity to hear both men, the language used by Senator Douglas was repugnant. I have to admit I was disappointed in Lincoln when he said that he was not "unconditionally" in favor of repealing the Fugitive Slave Law. Was he just being a coy politician, not willing to be totally honest? But after further reflection, I realized that Lincoln was just being exact, because he was willing to compromise and hence, he used that word "unconditional.

We have a constitution which states that all men are created equal. Technically that should apply to black men and white men and yellow men and red men as well. I can no longer support policies that allow people from one state to come into another state to seize negroes. I can no longer support slavery. That's why I am voting for Abraham Lincoln.

Sincerely Yours,

John Williams [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Lincoln-Douglas Debates: Voter Switches From Democrat to Republican.  (2014, July 8).  Retrieved March 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/lincoln-douglas-debates-voter-switches/9707780

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"Lincoln-Douglas Debates: Voter Switches From Democrat to Republican."  8 July 2014.  Web.  21 March 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/lincoln-douglas-debates-voter-switches/9707780>.

Chicago Format

"Lincoln-Douglas Debates: Voter Switches From Democrat to Republican."  Essaytown.com.  July 8, 2014.  Accessed March 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/lincoln-douglas-debates-voter-switches/9707780.