‘Guest Editorial’: A house divided
By Abraham Lincoln
June 16, 1858, at the Illinois Republican convention
“Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:
If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new, North as well as South.
Currently we again find our country as a house divided. The left and the right are polarized. There seems to be no more room for compromise. Facebook has created several forums that contribute to this polarization. Special interest groups that can be self-serving also fan the flames of our discontent. Big money interests have also intruded on our ability to find a common ground. The political winds seem to be changing ever so slightly. There is a developing feeling by many of us that says we need to work together and stop the divisiveness.
Can we hope that the Christmas Spirit finds its way into the New Year? This is the greatest country on earth. We have an uncanny ability to self-correct our direction and achieve a more perfect union.”