Complete Works

Author: Abraham Lincoln  | Date: 1894

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No Extension of Slavery (1860–1861)



[December 28, 1860.] MY dear Sir: I do not desire any amendment of the Constitution. Recognizing, however, that questions of such amendment rightfully belong to the American people, I should not feel justified nor inclined to withhold from them, if I could, a fair opportunity of expressing their will thereon through either of the modes prescribed in the instrument.

In addition I declare that the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and I denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as the gravest of crimes.

I am greatly averse to writing anything for the public at this time; and I consent to the publication of this only upon the condition that six of the twelve United States senators for the States of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas shall sign their names to what is written on this sheet below my name, and allow the whole to be published together.

Yours truly,


We recommend to the people of the States we represent respectively, to suspend all action for dismemberment of the Union, at least until some act deemed to be violative of our rights shall be done by the incoming administration.

Abraham Lincoln, (edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay, New York, 1894), I, 657–669 passim.


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Chicago: Abraham Lincoln, "No Extension of Slavery (1860– 1861)," Complete Works, ed. John G. Nicolay and John Hay in American History Told by Contemporaries, ed. Albert Bushnell Hart (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1903), Original Sources, accessed July 20, 2019,

MLA: Lincoln, Abraham. "No Extension of Slavery (1860– 1861)." Complete Works, edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Vol. I, in American History Told by Contemporaries, edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, Vol. 4, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1903, Original Sources. 20 Jul. 2019.

Harvard: Lincoln, A, 'No Extension of Slavery (1860– 1861)' in Complete Works, ed. . cited in 1903, American History Told by Contemporaries, ed. , The Macmillan Company, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 20 July 2019, from