|(Al Cirton rap)||(recitation by Paul)|
Before the Civil War the battle over slavery
was heating up. Dred Scott was called a piece of property.
Debating Douglas, Lincoln reckoned us a moral land,
and backed the Union. For "a house divided cannot stand."
When abolitionist John Brown attacked the armory
at Harper's Ferry, southern states endured the agony
of paranoia: slave rebellion was a great concern,
plantation owners picturing a mob about to burn
their homes. Although on large plantations slavery produced
a profit, manufacturing had actually reduced
the need for slaves -- it lingered, though, a thriving industry.
Tradition and the status factor bolstered slavery,
the law supported it, and even church and minister,
by offering salvation, justified the sinister,
peculiar institution. Now the battle would begin,
as Southern profits escalated with the cotton gin,
and Northerners were getting more involved. The "fugitive"
decision (rights denied in even northern states) would give
the abolitionists more ammunition, and Ms. Stowe's
account of Uncle Tom brought tears to men. And so arose
emotions of a civil war, as Kansas came to blows,
pro-slave and their "free soil" opponents seeking to impose
conflicting views. The courts announced the infamous Dred Scott
Decision, saying slaves, as simply property, could not
bring suit for freedom. Abolitionists enraged, the stage
was set for Lincoln versus Douglas in a classic page
of history: the "Little Giant" seeking to evade
the issue, Lincoln hoping to uncover the charade
by framing slavery in terms of its morality,
and pointing out the institution's illegality,
with black as well as white deserving life and liberty -
indeed, pursuit of happiness - and with equality
for more than just a few. The sacred Union of our land
would hold this guarantee: "a house divided cannot stand."