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Tuesday, May 17, 1859.+-

Springfield, IL.

Lincoln writes to German-language newspaper editor Theodore Canisius, of Springfield, Illinois. Canisius seeks Lincoln's opinion on a Massachusetts "constitutional provision." The amendment would impose a two-year waiting period before "naturalized citizens" could vote or hold public office. Lincoln writes, "as I understand the Massachusetts provision, I am against it's adoption in Illinois, or in any other place, where I have a right to oppose it. Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them. I have some little notoriety for commiserating the oppressed condition of the negro; and I should be strangely inconsistent if I could favor any project for curtailing the existing rights of foreign-born "white men", even though born in different lands, and speaking different languages from myself." Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Canisius, 17 May 1859, CW, 3:380-81.