posted by Paisley on .
Was Lincoln’s statement in the following quote necessarily predictive of how the crisis over slavery had to turn out?
"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." -Abraham Lincoln
Support, refute, or modify the contention through an examination of: the significance of the struggle over slavery for the American constitutional tradition.
What does that even mean? The American constitutional tradition?
Remember that one of the issues that brought about the American Revolution was taxation without representation and all the things that King George III did or didn't do, as he wished. The colonists who fought for independence from England wanted to be governed by their own laws, written by their own democratically elected representatives ... not a king across an ocean who ruled as his whims went.
It took two tries (Articles of Confederation and the Constitution) before the people in the new country (through their elected representatives) had the beginning of the set of laws (Constitution) they could live with. Amendments have been added, but they are still part of the Constitution. Overall, Americans expect to have a government based on laws, not on the whims of men.
Lincoln expected that whole system would be restored when all the states were back together in the Union, living under the Constitution.