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Lincoln’s House Divided Speech

Lincoln’s “House Divided” Speech
Mary Tidwell
Herding University
I believe that the “House Divided” speech is a deductive argument. A deductive argument is an argument that claims its conclusion necessarily follows a premise. (Boss, 2014, p. 174) The reason I believe this is because Lincoln is arguing that the issue of slavery must be solved whether this country becomes a slave country or a free country. Lincoln hoped to use a well-known figure for speech to help rouse the people to recognition for the magnitude of the ongoing debates over the legality of slavery. He believes that the nation cannot prosper unless they all come to an agreement. If we do not come to an agreement the country will not fall apart, but it will just continue to be divided. Occasion Lincoln is giving this speech to bring awareness to everybody. The country is literally divided on the issue of slavery. Also, the Northern Democrats involvement in trying to spread slavery to the whole country. People are failing to realize that the country must come in accordance on the issue of slavery if they want to return as whole.
I’m seeing this speech as it gears up the citizens of the United States and the members of Congress for what is to come. They are ignorant of the fact that they must come to an agreement, whatever that decision may be. Lincoln’s purpose for writing the “House Divided” speech is to persuade the nation that we need to be united once again, and take a stance on the issue of slavery. He is also bringing to our attention on how corrupt the Northern Democrats were being when they continued to prolonged the decision of the Dred Scott case. Which took place in 1857. It ruled that a slave is “property in the strictest sense of the term” and declared it unconstitutional for Congress to ban slavery in the western territories. (Boss, 2014, p. 170)
Stephen A. Douglas was against everything Lincoln was trying to bring about. Douglas would argue for “popular sovereignty”. He declared that people had the right to their own laws and policies on slavery. This is why Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery into the territories and argued that slavery was a “moral, social and a political wrong”. (Boss, 2014, p. 169) Lincoln clearly shows his knowledge of the court case, The Dred Scott Decision, and uses it to back up his argument. He also uses the Kansas- Nebraska Act to help prove his point. He establishes his authority when he shows his knowledge of all the case information. He quotes, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Lincoln proclaimed a painful truth. His speech had an impact on the realization that we are more powerful when we are united as one. It reminds us that we need to stay united. It also reminds us that we need to pay attention to higher powers because they can become corrupt in order to get their way. Lincoln goes into great detail when he discusses the topic of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision. When doing this he gets his point of corruption across. We still to this day use his term “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” This country would not be what it is today if we didn’t stand together as one.
Boss, J. (2014), Think: critical thinking and logic skills for everyday life (3rd ed.) New York: McGraw Hill
Abraham Lincoln, “A House Divided” (1585)


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