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The term that best summarizes Lincoln's position on slavery is the term "free soil." Lincoln was a firm believer in this idea, which held that slavery must not be extended to places where it did not already exist.
Lincoln personally believed that slavery was wrong. He did not believe in racial equality, but he believed that it was wrong to enslave blacks nonetheless. However, he did not believe that the federal government had the Constitutional right to abolish slavery where it already existed.
For this reason, Lincoln held to the free soil position. People who believed this said that slavery should be contained where it already existed so that the new territories could remain free for settlement for small white farmers.
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