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[38]

What, then, is the principle of the system of domestic slavery?

Observe that it is the principle for which we inquire. What, then, is the system itself? For (to speak with strict philosophical propriety) our idea of the system is the chronological condition of our idea of the principle, as our idea of the principle is the logical condition of our idea of the system. We must perceive an action before we can determine what is the principle of it, although we must have an antecedent knowledge of the principle before we can determine what character that principle gives to the action,

The system is made up of two correlative relations — master and slave. Here there are but two ideas — the idea of master and the idea of slave, as correlatives. These are all the ideas that enter into the system, as a system merely. Whatever abstract principle, therefore, this system envelops, is to be found in these two terms. It need not and should not be sought for anywhere else; for these two relations make the whole system. Without these it could not be a system of slavery; and with these, it is therein, and in virtue of that fact alone, a system of slavery. The answer to the question depends upon the meaning of these terms alone. What, then, is the correlative meaning of these terms?

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