President Abraham Lincoln: Was Lincoln a Racist?

Some quotes and quotations from President of the United States Abraham Lincoln to help determine if he was or was not a racist.

WAS LINCOLN A RACIST?

"You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other 2 races. Even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race. you are cut off from many of the advantages which the other race enjoys. It is better for us both to be separated."-Abraham Lincoln, during a meeting with free Negro leaders, at the White House, August, 1862

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the 2 races living together on terms of social or political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion that I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position that the Negro should be denied everything.

". . . Notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the Negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence-the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man."-Abraham Lincoln, debating with Douglas in Illinois, 1858

"In all my interviews with Mr. Lincoln I was impressed with his entire freedom from popular prejudice against the colored race. He was the 1st great man that I talked with in the U.S. freely, who in no single instance reminded me of the difference between himself and myself, of the difference of color, and I thought that all the more remarkable because he came from a State where there were black laws."-Frederick Douglas, radical black abolitionist and former slave

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