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Lecture V: the doctrines of rights applied to government.

  • Government, human as well as Divine, is a necessity of man's fallen condition
  • -- all men concur in this -- man did not originate government: he has only modified the form -- the legitimate objects of government, and the means which it employs to effect these objects -- the logical inferences: 1. although he has the power, he has no right to do wrong; 2. as a fallen being, he is, without a government over him, liable to lose the power of self-control -- what are the rights of man: 1. in a state of infancy; 2. in a state of maturity; and, 3. in a savage or uncivilized state -- civil government is not founded on a concession of rights.

philosophers, it seems to me, strangely overlook the tendency of man's fall to modify the operation of the laws of mind; and those who admit the fall still overlook this fact, that the depravity of man's nature was the result of deprivation, and not the infusion of an evil principle as an attribute of his nature. But it is not with the theology of this subject that we are now dealing. The fact that, as a fallen being, he was deprived of the immediate [105] presiding influence of the Divine Spirit, is the matter that more immediately engages our attention. His lower physical nature, the great medium of the soul's communication with the outward world, and of consciousness in the embodied state, originally operated in perfect and harmonious subordination to his higher spiritual nature. In this condition, his appetites, propensities, and passions presented no bar to his happiness, or to that of his fellows. The government or control which his situation demanded, we may suppose, was simple, and concerned chiefly his relation to the Deity. But when, on the great occasion of his trial, he exercised his power of self-action, and exalted this nature as a rule of moral action, instead of the essential good of his higher nature, of which the will of God in the given case was the full and just exponent, there resulted a deprivation of the Divine Spirit, such as entirely changed the relation of those departments of his nature. Under the clouded condition of intellect consequent upon this deprivation, his lower nature, with its appetites, propensities, and passions, is brought into constant and fierce conflict with his spiritual nature. This change in the condition of his humanity presents his case in an aspect altogether new. The history of each individual man becomes the history of a warfare — a warfare with [106] himself, and a warfare with his fellows. With a highly vigorous moral nature, he is also the subject of a carnal or depraved nature. In this state of things, government becomes an actual necessity of his condition. The Divine government, with all the aids and appliances afforded by the grand scheme of atonement, must appeal to his passions, both of hope and of fear. For it is only by reducing his lower nature to its originally subordinate and harmonious position that an equilibrium will be established, and his primordial happiness regained. But the Divine government, though operating in harmony with the claims of his moral nature, and founded upon the relation which he sustains to Jehovah, and indispensable to his happiness here and hereafter, of itself alone does not meet a great many of the immediate demands of his condition. Hence the statement of Solomon: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” The consequences of obedience, high and holy as they are, and the consequences of disobedience, great and terrible as they are, are too remote from man, in many states of intellect and feeling in which he often places himself, to meet the immediate demands of his nature. Hence, that modification of government called civil government, is no less demanded [107] by the necessities of his condition than the Divine.

Civil government deals chiefly with the relations of man to his fellow-man. It coincides with the Divine government. They each aim at the control of the lower nature of man, and the development of his higher nature. The means they employ are the same in principle. They address the same passions. The rewards and punishments of the one are in this life, and of the other chiefly in the life to come. Withal, the civil has the sanction of the Divine, and the Divine should always have the sanction of the civil, government. But still they are entirely distinct, and should not be confounded, either in theory or in practice The one is secular, and the other is Divine.

Now, we say that civil government — for of that we are called more particularly to speak--is a necessity of man's condition. It dates back as early as the creation of man. God himself established it in the law he gave to govern the first relation that existed on earth — the relation between Adam and his “helpmeet.” After the fall, a necessity arose which gave it a new and more important bearing. We soon see it ramifying itself through all society, and dealing with all the relations of life.

Its necessity and authority, as a great means of [108] controlling the lower nature of man, is among the permanent beliefs of mankind. Neither legislators nor philosophers originated these beliefs. They are among the intuitions of man. The common judgment of mankind is not more assured that man exists, than that fallen man must be controlled in his appetites, propensities, and passions — the sum of what is often considered his interest and his happiness — by the physical powers of government. Each individual man feels that he needs its powerful sanctions to arm him against himself, when violently tempted to do wrong; and that he needs its sanctions to protect him from outrage and wrong from his fellow-men, when moved by similar forces. The instincts of animal nature are not more certain in their movements than are the intuitive perceptions and spontaneous feelings of mankind, causing them to lean upon the strong arm of civil government, to control the propensities and passions, and to promote the free exercise of the higher moral nature of man.

Government is the whole society in action. No people was ever known to exist for any definite period without government. Sometimes, it is true, the form has been the result of implied understandings among the people — as when “there was no judge in Israel:” at others, a master-spirit has assumed the reins, and been deferred to by [109] common consent; and at others, it has been modified by formal processes — such as conventions and constitutions. Be this, however, as it may, government has always existed. Legislators did not make it. They have had much to do in modifying, directing, and often in corrupting the form; but nothing to do in originating government, in any proper sense of the term. It sprang spontaneously from the common sense of mankind. An agent indispensable to self-preservation was certainly coeval with the race.

In its true generic sense, that is, in a sense equally applicable to all forms, government is control by the authority of God and the people. God, in his word, declares the authority of the magistrate to be his ordinance; and this accords with the intuitive belief and feeling of necessity of all mankind: not that either approves in all cases of the form which government assumes, but that the generic principle, in all cases, has the sanction of each.

The legitimate object of government is to secure to the people the highest amount of freedom which their moral condition and relative circumstances will admit. The means which it employs to effect this object, are, 1. Suitable penalties, addressed to their hopes and fears, to lay them under such restraints as to the indulgence of their appetites, [110] propensities, and passions, as thereby to prevent them from operating as a bar to the free exercise of their intellectual and moral powers in pursuit of the essential good; and, 2. The security which it offers to every man, in the exercise of the higher powers of his nature, that he may do it without restraint from the passions of men; or, in other words, to guarantee to every man the free exercise of his essential power to do good.

That both the object of government, and the means which it employs, are correctly stated, will not be disputed. All men concur in these views. They underlie all our opinions and reasonings on the subject of civil government. But in assenting to this much, (and how can it be avoided?) may we not stand committed to much more than many theoretical politicians are aware?

Let us trace the logical inferences which arise from the principles discussed.

I. Man, we find, is endowed with a self-acting power of will, which is called mental liberty, and hence he is accountable. For although it is admitted that there cannot be a volition without a motive, yet it is an idea inseparable from our notions of mental liberty, that there cannot be any thing in these motives necessitating the volition; for in that case it would not be free. But he is free to adopt either the right or the wrong motive [111] of volition, and therefore he is accountable for his actions. Nor does it follow that this liberty confers the right to do wrong. His liberty, as we have shown, is to be understood in a sense agreeing with the coincident ideas of right and duty. We are all conscious, that so soon as we perceive the good, in any case, we have a feeling of obligation to observe it as the rule of conduct, and to avoid the contrary as wrong; that is, each man has a conscience. Hence, although man has the power to do wrong, he has no right to do wrong; but only a right to do that which is good. Such, and such only, is the true subjective right of self control. It is not a right to do as we may please, unless we shall please to do that which, in itself, is right; that is, the good.

II. His fall, we have seen, has had the effect to place him in such circumstances, that the attributes of his lower nature, his appetites, propensities, and passions, often have such ascendency as motives of action, that he is always liable to do wrong. Many reasons, à priori, could be given for this. The mind is first brought into contact with the outward world through the bodily senses. They come first into play; and hence the natural sensibilities are first developed. The will, in the form of spontaneous volition, is accustomed, from earliest life, to act from these as a motive, for the reason [112] that there is no other from which it can act. The pure intelligence, the percipient of the good, and the corresponding feelings of obligation, unfold themselves slowly; and long before it may be said that the mind is matured, the will is accustomed to make the natural sensibilities the motive of spontaneous volition. Now the will is, like all other faculties of the mind, subject to the great law of habit; and if not checked, restrained according to the true idea of government, a habit of submission is formed, which, if not early dissolved, becomes a confirmed habit. The will, instead of being the governing power of the mind, becomes, in truth, the faculty governed. It has lost the power of self-control. It has become the slave of passion — confirmed in the habit of submission. It is precisely at this point of mental degradation that Paul declares of “vessels of wrath,” those who have brought themselves into this state by their own act, that “they are fitted to destruction.” Now, in view of these facts and the principles already established, what are the rights of man?

First. In the state of infancy. It has been proved that the subjective endowments of humanity, and whatever is necessary to their existence and operation, are the natural right of man. That the undeveloped good is the endowment of this form of humanity will not be disputed: hence [113] whatever is necessary to its existence and operation, is the natural right of infants. But it is obvious that a governing power, existing some where, is indispensably necessary in the case of the child; that is, a power must exist sufficiently potent to control the spontaneous volitions of the will, or, in the circumstances of its position, it will probably extinguish its own liberty, by the law of habit. Government, then,--absolute government,--is necessary to the existence and operation of the endowment of humanity in the state of infancy; and therefore absolute government is the natural right of the infant. Hence all civil governments have exercised (so far as the will and physical condition are concerned) an absolute despotism over the child, and have recognized the parent, or some one appointed in the place of the parent, as the agent of its functions in this respect. Not to accord to the infant this extreme form of control, would be a practical denial of its natural rights. Therefore this extreme form of despotism, so far from being a curse, is the natural right of infants — the good to which they are entitled by nature. And again, the civil government accords to the child a progressive modification of this form of government under given circumstances. It requires its agent to relax the stringency of this control, and to extend a privilege of self-control, [114] in the ratio in which the pure intelligence and feelings of obligation or duty are practically developed. For a child who had become, to a certain extent, a subject of duty, and was disposed to fulfil this duty, but was kept, per force, in the physical condition of infancy until he lost the use of his limbs, would be considered as deprived of the right of self-control to that extent, and thereby cruelly treated. The agent in such a case would be severely punished, and the child committed to other hands.

Hence, in the ratio in which the pure intelligence is unfolded, and feelings of obligation arise, or conscience is developed, and becomes the practical rule of action, the individual acquires the right of self-control, and only in that ratio. This right may ultimately reach to all things in themselves good — the civil government always holding the authority to punish departures from duty, and thereby always abridging men of the moral power to do wrong, (because it never could be their right to do wrong,) and always fortifying them in the right exercise of liberty of will, by furnishing motives, addressed to their intelligence and passions, to observe the right and to avoid the wrong in the exercise of the volitive power. Therefore, the natural right of man is the right to such absolute control by others, in the earlier [115] periods of his life, as that his will may retain its self-acting power unimpaired, as his mind is naturally unfolded by time and circumstances; and to such modification of this absolute control in after life, as may afford him due restraint under temptation to do wrong, and proper encouragement, at all times, to do right.

Second. The right of man in a state of maturity.

1. The government should accord him all his natural rights, and protect him in the exercise of the same. That is, the political government should cooperate with the Divine to preserve his will in its normal condition as a self-acting power, and to guarantee to him the exercise of this power of self-action in all things good. The man who is protected in the enjoyment of this inherent liberty of will, is a free man in the strictest sense of the word. The government over him may be concentrated in the hands of one man, or it may be divided among an aristocracy, more or less numerous, or it may be what is called a democracy, but this does not of itself affect the fact of his freedom. If the government secure him in the enjoyment of these rights, and of all which necessarily attaches to them, he is essentially free. The kind of government, as a hereditary monarchy, or a democratic republic, does not, of itself, determine the actual freedom of its subjects. History furnishes [116] many examples of government in which the power of control was concentrated in the hands of but one, or of a few individuals, which afforded its subjects the highest amount of essential liberty. To this day, “the freedom of the British Constitution” --as much as we justly prefer our own — is by no means an idle boast. It is a great mistake to suppose that a government which deposits the sovereignty among the great mass of the people, is the only free government. We are constrained to acknowledge that it is better to be oppressed by one, or by a few tyrants, than by a multitude of tyrants. It is not this or that kind of government that makes the subject essentially free. But it is the fact that the controlling power, whether wielded by one or by many, secures each man in the enjoyment of his natural rights — affords him that system of appliances which develops and matures the self-acting power of his will — discourages all abuse of this power, and fully protects him in the proper exercise of it in the pursuit of the essential good. It is this that makes him free.

We prefer, for those to whom it is applicable, a democratic republic; because it is a more secure government, and less liable to an abuse of power; not because it is necessarily a more free government than any other. Another form of government may secure equal freedom in every essential [117] particular; and this form may be as oppressive as any other; and whenever it is so, the condition of the down-trodden minority is far more hopeless than is that of the oppressed majority under some other form of government. Still, in certain conditions of the people, it is a much more secure form of government. The sovereigns of a state should always be socially equal, and, at the same time, honest as well as intelligent. Such rulers will not be oppressors. If the sovereigns of a democracy are intelligent, for the reason that but few participate directly and personally in the administration of government and the spoils of office they have but few inducements to corruption, and are more likely to be honest. The mass of the people, though often wrong in opinion, are always right in sentiment — they mean to do right, and they desire to do right. If they do err in a given case, they may usually be set right, for they have no motive to stay wrong. Hence, we think that when the condition of intelligence is fulfilled in the case of those occupying a social footing, we may expect a wiser and purer government; whilst the extent to which they may participate in the affairs of government, giving it a firmer hold upon their affections, cannot fail to make it a more secure government. It is widely different in the case of a government concentrated in the hands of [118] a few. The sovereigns are at the same time the administrators of law. They share not only the honors of sovereignty, but also the immediate profits of sovereignty — the spoils of office. Temptations to abuse power are always present and active. Hence we find that such governments are more frequently oppressive. Withal, even in cases in which they are not, (for they need not be,) for the reason that the mass of the people do not immediately participate in the affairs of government, they are not as devoted to its interests, and hence the government cannot be as secure. For these reasons, a democratic republic is called by way of eminence a free government; but, evidently, not because it is the only form which secures freedom to its subjects. Any of these forms are legitimate when they are so adapted to the condition of the people as to secure to them the highest amount of freedom of which that condition will admit.

2. The government should secure to him all his acquired rights, or the rights which he acquires by the proper use of his essential rights. Of these, we notice,

1. His rights of social equality with those with whom he holds common interests, pleasures, benefits, happiness, and duties. These rights usually vary with the condition of different individuals, [119] or different classes of individuals. It will not be maintained that an infant or idiot, and a man of rude intellect and vulgar habits, have interests and duties common to each other, and common to persons in a different condition, in any such sense as would entitle them all to social equality. Both their mental and physical condition would be a bar to any such equality. So in the case of the sexes, difference in physical condition is a bar, except in the marriage state. So also certain races of men are by their physical condition barred from social equality, in many respects, with those of other races. Those duties required by one condition in order to attain the essential good are very different from those of another condition which are necessary to attain the same object. But the privilege of social equality with all in a similar condition, which results from the discharge of the duties of that condition, is the right of every one. Some will require positive law to secure them; as in the marriage relation, the social as well as other rights of the parties must be secured by law; whilst others will be better secured by leaving them to be regulated by the conventional usages of society — only another form of government. But there is an obvious difference in the social rights of men which government is bound to respect, unless it would arrest the progress [120] of civilization; because it is an inequality founded in that difference of condition, against which no government can provide, nor was it intended that it should provide. We notice,

2. That government should secure to him all those political rights to which he is entitled by making a proper use of his essential rights.

We need not specify all the political rights which may be regarded acquired rights. It is sufficient to consider this topic in regard to the question of sovereignty. We say, that all the members of a given society, having a common interest in that society, are entitled to share the sovereignty of its government on certain conditions, and on no other conditions. We take the ground that mere humanity, in itself considered, does not entitle any one to the rights of political sovereignty. If this were so, we should be bound to place females, together with minors of both sexes, and the inmates of State prisons, among the sovereigns of society. They are all perfect specimens of humanity. Of the first it may be said, they are often equal in intellect with the other sex, and in other respects are generally superior specimens of humanity. These all have an interest in society common to all other members of it, and yet it is admitted that they should not be numbered among the sovereigns of the land. What is it, [121] then, that entitles a man to the right of political sovereignty? First--He should have reached that point in mental development in which he will have a capacity, in common with others, to understand and appreciate the leading principles of government and their applications. Second--He should have reached that period in life in which there is usually a corresponding development of the moral sense — the feeling of obligation to do right — which affords a reasonable guaranty for the faithful application of his knowledge in discharging the duties of sovereignty. Third--He should be in that state of social equality which gives him a common interest, a common happiness, and common duties as a citizen, with other sovereigns, which will also afford a necessary guaranty for the faithful performance of his duties. And, Fourth--He should be in that physical condition, also, which is necessary to the duties of so responsible a position, under all ordinary circumstances. If one or more of these conditions exclude a whole sex, together with all minors, idiots, felons, and foreigners, they at the same time limit it to a definite class of males, and bar all others from any title to it. No sensible man would admit that the power of sovereign control inherent in government could, with safety to the only legitimate object of government, the happiness of the subjects, [122] be deposited with any other class of men. But those who fulfil these conditions have right to rule. They have acquired it by the performance of those duties which have elevated them to the condition of being qualified for sovereignty. It should not be withheld. If those in a society qualified for sovereignty be numerous the government should take the popular form — a democratic republic. But if those qualified to rule are a limited portion of the whole society, some other form of government is more appropriate.

But our subject leads us to notice:

Third. The rights of man in the savage or uncivilized state.

No savage community was ever known to rise unaided to a state of civilization; and every example of savage society furnishes evidence that it is a state into which they have fallen by the tendencies of depraved nature. They are instances in which the government originally enjoyed — both human and Divine — has failed to preserve to the individual that liberty of will in the pursuit of the good which government is designed to secure. The pure intelligence is not sufficiently developed to constitute an enlightened conscience. Dwelling apart from civilized society, the absence of all the artificial wants of civilization is highly favorable to many of the natural virtues — such as hospitality [123] to strangers, truth, fidelity, and generosity to their friends; but the undeveloped state of the pure reason leaves the moral sense in a state of so much immaturity, as to characterize them as unfaithful, cruel, and revengeful to their enemies. These are characteristics which, in their condition of physical maturity, make them terrible to their neighbors.

Now the question is, What are the rights of such a people? It is useless to discuss this question so far as it relates to mere savage government; for in this view it is a question of no interest. But the question, What rights can they claim of a civilized people? is the one with which we have to deal.

They certainly have a natural right to protection under given circumstances, and freedom from oppression under all circumstances. If a civilized people, holding a balance of power in virtue of superior intelligence, have an undisputed right to protect themselves from the cruelty and infidelity of neighboring savages, still it will be admitted that oppression in any proper sense of the term would be an invasion of their natural rights. They have a right to be left in the enjoyment of he highest amount of freedom which their mental tate will allow them to use legitimately. And lore than this, their natural rights claim for them [124] reasonable exertions to elevate their moral condition. Hence the noble efforts now being made by the Christian people of this country to evangelize the savages on our border, and the no less commendable efforts of the United States government to favor this design, by an annual appropriation from the national treasury. All this is only according them their rights. But do these rights entitle them to claim social equality with a civilized people? That which it is the right of another to clair of me, it is my duty to grant. Is it then my duty to grant social equality to any or to every wandering savage that may chance to pass my dwelling? Should I not only extend to him the rights of hospitality due to a wandering savage — give him food and shelter in given circumstances, and treat him kindly in all respects — but extend to him true social equality, such as it is my duty to do to other men in certain states of civilization! No man — himself not a savage — would dare affirm this! The savage has no right to claim it. The reason is obvious on the principles discussed. Certain social rights arise only on certain conditions of moral development, and the fulfilment of the duties which attach to that state. The savage has not reached this condition; hence has not fulfilled its duties, and is not entitled to the right of social equality which attaches to that state. For [125] a sensible man to affirm that he has this right in virtue of his mere humanity, would be simply ridiculous. And this being so, it follows, a fortiori, that it is much less our duty to allow him an equal participation in the sovereignty of the State--allow him a control in the affairs of government — share the authority to regulate our relations domestic and foreign; and even to participate in governing our families.

The man who should gravely propose in Congress to annex the savage tribes of our border, as sovereign States of this Union, would, by all right-minded men, be regarded as insane. No one of the managers of looms, spindles, and other machinery, among the agrarian portion of our northern community, with all their boasted knowledge of the natural rights of man, and their readiness to accord equal rights to all men, and to protect them in asserting those rights, have, as yet, made up their minds to go thus far — although we may be at a loss to account for it that they so far falsify their principles as not to do so.

Now, as it is not our duty to do this in behalf of a neighboring race of uncivilized people, for the reason that they have no right to it, how does the question stand in regard to a numerous class of such persons, spread through a definite section of our country? Does this change of position and [126] contact with civilization confer on them higher rights than it has already been admitted belong to them in a separate state in virtue of their humanity? Is it our duty to accord to them equality of political rights? and for the reason that they are diffused through the mass of society? Can this position be maintained? On the contrary, the change of position, and the service which in that position they render to the cause of civilization, which is assumed to acquire for them a right that does not belong to their class of persons in a separate position, so far from affording a vindication of this doctrine, furnishes a still stronger reason against it. They are not only uncivilized, but are now in a position to exert an evil influence, which in a separate state they could not do, although they might dwell upon our border. In a separate state, the artificial wants of civilized life are unknown to them. The great sources of temptation to do wrong by invading the rights of neighbors, is not supplied to them by their position. But when in immediate contact with civilization, a great many of these artificial wants are learned by them, and felt to be objects of desire. These desires, by a fixed law of the human mind, must be a constant source of temptation — they clamor for gratification. If the indulgence should not be restrained, either by a system [127] of laws which reached the case, or by the motives which a state of civilization supplies, they would inevitably result in a disregard of the rights of property, and a general depravation of morals. They are without the latter, for they are uncivilized. Hence the demands of their position must be met by laws appropriate to an uncivilized people. The laws appropriate to a state of civilization, cooperating as they do with the motives supplied by that state, are not more than equal to the task of restraining the passions of civilized men. To rely upon them in the case of uncivilized men would be the grossest folly. Hence if it were not our duty to share our political rights with such a people, dwelling upon our border, in a separate state, for a much stronger reason it is not our duty to do this for those dwelling in our midst. If it is not our duty to do it, it cannot be their right to claim it; for rights and duties are always reciprocal. But, on the contrary, for the same general reasons by which it becomes the duty of a civilized state to place all its minors under the despotism of parental control, as before defined, it is the duty of the state to place an uncivilized race which may chance to dwell within its borders, under a similar form of government. This despotism need not be oppressive in the one case any more than in the other. It is the proud boast of [128] all our native citizens that they have always lived under a free government; and yet they were brought up to the age of twenty-one under a pure despotism. But this does not deprive them of their right to boast. True, the government conferred almost absolute control upon the parent, or guardian, or master of the apprentice! These might have oppressed them. But the government, which stood ready to vindicate their rights, did not do it. The government, in what it did, only accorded them their natural rights, as we have seen — provided to confer on them the highest amount of freedom of which their condition would admit. It was to them essentially a free government, though in one of the forms of despotism. So in that form of despotism appropriate to a race of uncivilized people dwelling in the midst of a civilized people, if adapted to their condition, or securing to them (as in the case of minors) their natural rights, it is, for them, and to them, a free government. So far from being a curse, as many of our philosophers teach, it is a blessing, which their essential rights entitle them to claim. Any other form of government would be, in their case, as well as in that of minors, a practical denial of their rights; because it would result in the annihilation of their essential rights; that is, the enslavement of their wills to the basest passions of fallen nature. [129]

Hence, we find that government, both human and Divine, is a special necessity of man's fallen condition, and coeval with the history of the race: that its legitimate object is to preserve him from that annihilation of his essential liberty of will which would inevitably follow if there were no government, and to secure him in the enjoyment of the highest amount of this liberty which his condition will allow: that to do this, various forms of civil government are admissible; and that the one best adapted to the condition of the people is the one that should be applied, and is the only strictly free government for the people to whom it is appropriate. A democracy applied to minors or savages, in the midst of a civilized people, would be the most grinding of all oppressions. We have seen that the means appropriate to government are suitable penalties addressed to our passions of hope and fear: that the only right which a man has to exercise his inherent liberty — that is, the only right he has of self-control — is the authority to do that which, in itself, is right--not a right to do wrong: that the exclusive authority of government is to restrain man from doing wrong, and to protect and encourage him in doing right--restrain his power to do wrong, not his power to do right — this it seeks to strengthen. We have seen that the rights of man in a state of [130] minority — and the same of uncivilized men dwelling in a community of the civilized — are to the benefits of an absolute form of government; any other would be only a system of ruinous oppression to them: that at his maturity as a civilized man, he should be protected in the exercise of all the rights which naturally belong to a state of maturity, and also the enjoyment of all those rights which he has acquired by availing himself of the privileges afforded by his condition. Of his acquired rights, we see that on certain conditions he is entitled to social equality; and that on certain further conditions, he is entitled to the right of political sovereignty.

Now, we ask, in what sense can it be said that legitimate government is a concession of some rights, in order to secure others? Certainly, in no good sense, seeing it only limits his power to do wrong, by laying him under suitable disabilities, and that it does this in order to secure both the power and the privilege of doing right. But by falsely assuming that government is a concession of rights, and that the government in which every citizen does not make a voluntary concession of the rights exercised by government is a cruel oppression, men fall upon conclusions which, when carried out, (and principles will tend to work out their results,) lead to agrarianism: that is, the [131] destruction of all rights, by the annihilation of all civilization.

And again we ask, How does it follow that the domestic slavery of the negro in America is an abridgment of his inalienable rights? Certainly not from the fact that he is placed under an absolute form of control, for we have seen that, in certain conditions of humanity, that is the only form of government that will secure any freedom at all: as in the case of all minors, and the case of an uncivilized race that may chance to be diffused among the mass of a civilized people. If, then, his government be an oppression at all, it is because his state of civilization, and the relative circumstances of his condition, have acquired for him the rights of social equality and the rights of political sovereignty. These are questions of fact that will be considered in their proper place.

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