"A house divided against itself will fall." I believe the government cannot continue to be half slave and half free. As you can see, the "home" in this metaphor relates to the Union—the United States of America—and that house was divided between opponents and supporters of slavery. The country was deeply divided over the issue then as now; the Civil War broke out less than ten years after the writing of these words.
Here's another example from American history: Lincoln said this in a speech just before he was elected president: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." This metaphor was first used by John Quincy Adams in 1838 when he argued that the federal government would not be able to survive if the states withdrew their support for it.
Lincoln was right! The union did collapse almost exactly one hundred years after he made this statement. In 1860, six southern states declared their independence and formed their own nation: the Confederacy. In 1865, the remaining northern states ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery nationwide. But even though the union survived, most people didn't think it would last this long. When Lincoln made this statement, there were already signs that the south was leaning toward separation.
I don't expect the union to be dissolved, and I don't expect the house to come down, but I do expect it to stop being split. It will either become all of one thing or all of the other. Either everything will be entirely free or everything will be entirely enslaved.
Lincoln knew that if slavery were allowed to spread, it would destroy the country. No nation can withstand the weight of slavery on its shoulders. It is in this way that Lincoln explained how the house was doomed to collapse: "I predict its dissolution".
Here again we see that Lincoln wanted to avoid conflict at any cost. He tried to keep America together by offering concessions to both sides but they were not enough. In fact, he went so far as to free the slaves but this only made matters worse since the southern states would not accept his offer. In the end, he had no choice but to go to war.
This shows that Lincoln believed that keeping the country together was more important than preserving the union. He would have preferred not to fight a civil war over slavery but he felt that there was no other option for saving the country.
In conclusion, I think that Lincoln's views on division within the country are interesting because they show that he believed that it was better to sacrifice part of the country than to let it crumble.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This government, I feel, cannot continue to be half slave and half free. I don't anticipate the union to be dissolved, nor do I expect the house to crumble, but I do expect it to stop being split. If we believe in this institution, which I do, then we have an obligation to try to heal these divisions.
I believe that we can work through these differences to preserve what has always made this country great. We've been through much worse than this and emerged stronger from it. But there are those who believe that what has always made this country unique is its ability to divide rather than unite its citizens. Whether it's racial divisions that have plagued us at different times in our history or political divides that exist today, there are people who believe that competition is better than cooperation. They believe that fighting is good enough for peace and war is good enough for justice. These are not principles that I or any other human being should have to live by, but they do represent the core values of some people in this country.
If we are to remain one nation under God, then we cannot allow these beliefs to divide us. We need to fix these problems before them so that we aren't forced to face them later on. For example, there are certain groups within our population that are treated differently by law because of their race.