What I do say is that no man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle, the sheet-anchor of American republicanism. […] According to our ancient faith, the just powers of governments are derived from the consent of the governed. Now the relation of master and slave is pro tanto a total violation of this principle. The master not only governs the slave without his consent, but he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those which he prescribes for himself. Allow all the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only, is self-government.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Speech at Peoria, Illinois (1854)

In response to Stephen Douglas. Full text.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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