The slavery question wouldn't be answered until more than twenty-five years later, yet it was raised in the Illinois General Assembly of 1836-37. Abraham Lincoln and a fellow legislator filed a dissent to a resolution asserting that the right to hold slaves was sacred and protected by the U.S. Constitution.
March 3, 1837
Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having passed both branches of the General Assembly
at its present session, the undersigned hereby protest
against the passage of the same.
They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy; but that the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than to abate its evils.
They believe that the Congress of the United States has the power, under the constitution, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia; but that that power ought not to be exercised unless at the request of the people of said District.
The difference between these opinions and those contained in the said resolutions, is their reason for entering this protest.
Representatives from the county of Sangamon
This document is a copy of the unedited text of a written work by Abraham Lincoln. Some typographical errors which were present in the original text appear here as well. This document was copied in its entirety from The Living Lincoln, edited by Paul M. Angle and Earl Schenck Miers, published by Marboro Books Corp.