matter in the Territories
I know the opinion of the Judges
states that there is a total absence of power; but that is, unfortunately, not all it states ; for the Judges
add that the right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution
It does not stop at saying that the right of property in a slave is recognized in the Constitution
, is declared to exist somewhere in the Constitution
, but says it is affirmed
in the Constitution
Its language is equivalent to saying that it is embodied and so woven into that instrument that it cannot be detached without breaking the Constitution
In a word, it is part of the Constitution
is singularly unfortunate in his effort to make out that decision to be altogether negative, when the express language at the vital part is that this is distinctly affirmed in the Constitution
I think myself, and I repeat it here, that this decision does not merely carry slavery into the Territories
, but by its logical conclusion it carries it into the States in which we live.
One provision of that Constitution is, that it shalt be the supreme law of the land — I do not quote the language-any Constitution or law of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
This Dred Scott
decision says that the right of property in a slave is affirmed in that Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, any State Constitution or law notwithstanding.
Then I say that to destroy a thing which is distinctly affirmed and supported by the supreme law of the land, even by a State Constitution or law, is a violation of that supreme law, and there is no escape from it. In my judgment there is no avoiding that result, save that the American
people shall see that Constitutions are better construed than our Constitution is construed in that decision.
They must take care that it is more faithfully and truly carried out than it is there expounded.
I must hasten to a conclusion.
Near the beginning of my remarks, I said that this insidious Douglas Popular Sovereignty is the measure that now threatens the purpose of the Republican party, to prevent slavery from being nationalized in the United States
I propose to ask your attention for a little while to some propositions in affirmance of that statement.
Take it just as it stands, and apply it as a principle; extend and apply that principle elsewhere and consider where it will lead you. I now put this proposition, that Judge Douglas
's Popular Sovereignty applied will reopen the African slave-trade ; and I will demonstrate it by any variety of ways in which you can turn the subject or look at it.
says that the people of the Territories
have the right, by his principle, to have slaves, if they want them.
Then I say that the people in Georgia
have the right to buy slaves in Africa
, if they want them, and I defy any man on earth to show any distinction between the two things — to show that the one is either more wicked or more unlawful ; to show, on original principles, that one is better or worse than the other ; or to show by the Constitution
, that one differs a whit from the other.
He will tell me, doubtless, that there is no Constitutional provision against people taking slaves into the new Territories
, and I tell him that there is equally no Constitutional provision against buying slaves in Africa
He will tell you that a people, in the exercise of popular sovereignty, ought to do as they please about that thing, and have slaves if they want them ; and I tell you that the people of Georgia
are as much entitled to popular sovereignty and to buy slaves in Africa
, if they want them, as the people of the Territory
are to have slaves if they want them.
I ask any man, dealing honestly with himself, to point out a distinction.
I have recently seen a letter of Judge Douglas
's in which, without stating that to be the object, he doubtless endeavors to make a distinction between the two.
He says he is unalterably opposed to the repeal of the laws against the African slave-trade.
He then seeks to give a reason that would not apply to his popular sovereignty in the Territories
What is that reason?
“The abolition of the African slave-trade is a compromise of the Constitution
I deny it. There is no truth in the proposition that the abolition of the African slave-trade is a compromise of the constitution.
No man can put his finger on anything in the constitution on the line of history which shows it!
It is a mere barren assertion, made simply for the