What does Lincoln predict will happen to the country if the issue of slavery is not rectified or corrected?

In his famous "House Divided" speech of 1858, Lincoln predicts that if the issue of slavery isn't rectified then the United States will not be able to endure in its present condition. Instead of being "half slave, half free" it will have to become completely one thing or the other, wholly slave or wholly free.

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In the "House Divided" speech, Lincoln warns of the threatened integrity of the Union caused by the inability to deal decisively with the issue of slavery. Many political initiatives were tried in the past to resolve the issue, but none of them worked. Instead, they left the Union in a perilous state, with one half slave and the other half free.

Lincoln says that the United States cannot go on like this. In a famous phrase, he says that "A house divided against itself, cannot stand". By this, he means that the present system of government cannot endure so long as the country is divided on the issue of slavery. Either the country will allow slavery everywhere or nowhere.

Although Lincoln personally abhorred slavery, he was prepared to maintain slavery if it meant keeping the Union together during that time in his political career. It was only towards the end of the Civil War that he committed himself to abolishing slavery once and for all.

Later on in the speech, Lincoln makes a prediction. Because the Supreme Court's decision in the infamous Dred Scott case had closed the door on any chance of political compromise, the country will either become all slave or all free. In the meantime, the Union cannot function as a "house divided" with North and South holding completely irreconcilable opinions on the vexatious issue of slavery.

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