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Compromise cannot mean surrender. I told Republican leaders, “the tug has to come & better now than later.” I would not have objected to more stringent enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, requiring the return of escaped slaves to their owners. I probably would not have opposed a constitutional amendment protecting slavery in the states where it already existed, but I absolutely refused to authorize any compromise that might allow slavery to spread into new territories. Republicans won office opposing slavery’s extension, and I would not surrender to those we defeated in a fair election.

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