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It might have been expected that this decision would have superseded all opposing political platforms, and ended the controversy in regard to slavery in the Territories. This expectation, notwithstanding, soon proved to be a delusion. Instead of yielding it obedience, its correctness and binding effect were instantly resisted by the Republican party. They denounced and repudiated it in every possible form from the first moment, and continued to maintain, in opposition to its express terms, that it was not only the right but the duty of Congress to abolish slavery in all the Territories. This became a cardinal principle in the Chicago platform on which Mr. Lincoln was nominated and elected, and to which his Inaugural proves he had determined to adhere. The agitation continued for years, just as though the Supreme Court had never decided the question, until at length Congress passed an Act, on the 19th June, 1862,1 declaring that from and after its passage, ‘there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the Territories of the United States now exiting, or which may at any time hereafter be formed or acquired by the United States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.’

This Act stands upon the Statute Book in direct conflict with the Constitution as expounded by the Supreme Coordinate Judicial Tribunal, and is therefore, according to the theory of our Government, a mere nullity.

On the other hand, a large and respectable portion of the old Democratic party of the North, best known as the Douglas Democracy, equally, disregarded the decision of the Supreme Court. For some years before it was pronounced, this party, whilst admitting that the Constitution authorizes the migration of slaves from the States into the Territories, had maintained that after their arrival it was competent for the Territorial Legislature to impair or destroy the rights of the master. They claimed this power by virtue of a supposed inherent attribute of popular sovereignty alleged to belong to the first settlers of a Territory, just as it exists in the people of one of the States. This doctrine

1 Pamph. Laws, 1861-68, p. 432.

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