previous next
[264] wherein it proclaims itself devoid of jurisdiction, and denies the validity of such legislation. The people are treated as inclining to usurp the power of excluding human bondage from their territorial possessions; so the Court decides that they have no rights in the premises, no power to act on the question. If twenty millions of freemen were unanimously and earnestly to insist that Freedom should be the law of their common territories, while but one slaveholder should claim the privilege of taking his slaves to and holding them in said territories, the claim of this one slaveholder, according to the Court, would override and defeat, conclusively, the earnest demands of those twenty millions of freemen. The war upon the Missouri Restriction, and against Slavery Inhibition in the Territories generally, had been commenced and prosecuted under the banner of “Popular Sovereignty;” and it was to this complexion it had come at last; and it was of this judgment, just about to be proclaimed to an astounded people, that Mr. Buchanan, in his Inaugural aforesaid, says:
The whole territorial question being thus settled upon the principle of Popular Sovereignty — a principle as ancient as free government itself — everything of a practical nature has been decided. No other question remains for adjustment; because all agree that, under the Constitution, Slavery in the States is beyond the reach of any human power, except that of the respective States themselves wherein it exists. May we not, then, hope that the long agitation on this subject is approaching its end, and that the geographical parties to which it has given birth, so much dreaded by the father of his country, will speedily become extinct?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
James Buchanan (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: