In your January 13, 1998 editorial "McGovern Republicans" you remark: "Others cite the GOP's founding as the anti-slavery party, but forget that even Lincoln was a moderate on slavery. He opposed expanding it into new territories, but until the Emancipation Proclamation vowed to retain it in the South."
It is not correct that Lincoln "vowed to retain" slavery. The Republican Party platform of 1860, and Lincoln, always held that the "domestic institutions" of the states were constitutionally under their exclusive jurisdiction. Lincoln and the party were opposed to the extension of slavery into any federal territories. But Lincoln also held the view — generally accepted by both pro-slavery and the anti-slavery factions — that slavery as an institution must either expand or die.
By ending its extension, Lincoln believed slavery would be placed "in course of ultimate extinction." Before the outbreak of the Civil War, however, Lincoln expected the measures to end slavery would be taken by the slave states themselves. That, after all, is how slavery had been ended in the North.
The Claremont Institute
January 29th, 1998