In 1858, at the first Illinois Senatorial debate held on this day at Ottawa, Abraham Lincoln declared that his opponent Stephen A. Douglas "cares not whether slavery is voted down or voted up," and that, [in the words of Henry Clay], he would "blow out the moral lights around us" and eradicate the love of liberty.
A Slip, not a FallBy the time that the seventh debate had been held at Alton on October 15th, it was clear that Lincoln had lost the argument. Not only would Douglas cruise to victory in the Senate race, he would pursue the same logical argument in his successful bid for the Presidency two years later. Yet the voters of Illinois would experience some doubt during the secession crisis. By then Lincoln had occupied the vacant seat, a lonely voice in the Senate arguing against Douglas's "Richmond Compromise".
That compromise would leave unanswered the questioned posed to Douglas by Lincoln at Ottawa, namely ~ "[because all men were created equal], how can you deprive a negro of that equality which God and the Declaration of Independence awards to him?".The path was worn and slippery. My foot slipped from under me, knocking the other out of the way, but I recovered and said to myself, "It's a slip and not a fall".
For Lincoln, self-actualisation was a very personal matter. He had suffered from deep depression for many years. The nagging doubt that he had failed to make his mark would ultimately drive him to suicide in 1864.
Nevertheless his upbeat attitude to the future of the Union was deeply philosophical. Whilst considering the "Richmond Compromise" a setback (which he blamed upon a lack of national leadership), it was in his own remarkable words, "a slip, not a fall".