Teacher's Parlor

Questions to Accompany Lincoln's Speech in Springfield, Illinois, June 26, 1857, on the Dred Scott Decision

  1. Summarize Lincoln's take on the Dred Scott decision.
  2. Does Lincoln invoke any constitutional (strict construction) arguments in his response to the Dred Scott decision? If so, explain how he uses the constitution to support his position.
  3. Does Lincoln give any statements about legal precedents? If so, explain how he uses legal precedents to support his position.
  4. Does Lincoln discuss natural law? If so, explain how he uses natural law to support his position.
  5. Does Lincoln invoke the Declaration of Independence in response to the Dred Scott decision? If so, explain how he uses the Declaration of Independence to support his position.
  6. Does Lincoln emphasize any of the arguments more than another?
  7. Summarize Douglas's opinion on the Dred Scott decision.
  8. Does Douglas invoke any constitutional (strict construction) arguments in his response to the Dred Scott decision? If so, explain how he uses the constitution to support his position.
  9. Does Douglas give any statements about legal precedents? If so, explain how he uses legal precedents to support his position.
  10. Does Douglas discuss natural law? If so, explain how he uses natural law to support his position.
  11. Does Douglas invoke the Declaration of Independence in response to the Dred Scott decision? If so, explain how he uses the Declaration of Independence to support his position.
  12. Does Douglas emphasize any of the arguments more than another?
  13. Lincoln accuses Douglas of being hypocritical in his support of the Supreme Court's decision on Dred Scott, because of his previous criticism of the Court on its decision over the constitutionality of the national bank. Do you agree with Lincoln's assessment? Explain why or why not.
  14. Describe how Lincoln's and Douglas's opinions conflict with one another. Explain how the underlying foundations of their arguments contribute to their disagreements.

©Copyright 2005 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project