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By general law, life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life, but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground, and now avow it. I could not feel that to the best of my ability I had even tried to preserve the Constitution, if, to save slavery, or any minor matter, I should permit the wreck of government, country, and Constitution altogether.
WOW! ok here goes
I'm not done
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another user answered this: ok what Lincoln was trying to say is by eliminating the bad would be saving the good. Then this is confusing, the limb and life are examples, you say um a shark is near you, so you have to save your life but you can't save your life if your just saving your limb. Doesn't make sense . His letter was about slavery, good against bad
It makes no sense, Lincoln asserts, to uphold the Constitution if doing so means that the nation that constitution serves will be lost.
Lincoln is saying that he cannot let the country be destroyed only to save the constitution. this is how he relates it back to amputating a limb to save a life