chapter  9
24 Pages

The Instincts of Empire

The Constitution was designed to unite two social systems, upon terms of equality and fairness, different in their character, but not necessarily hostile. Unfortunately, however, as those who represented the non-slaveholding system of society grew into power, they commenced warfare upon the other system which was associated with it under the Constitution. In the process of time, they either evaded or they denied the constitutional obligation to return fugitive slaves; and at last it was proclaimed in the Halls that there was a law higher than the Constitution, which nullified its obligations and its provisions. There must be constitutional amendments which shall provide: first, that Congress shall have no power to abolish slavery in the States, in the District of Columbia, in the dock-yards, forts and arsenals of the United States. It is well known that some of the most important objects of this Constitution and Union are left simply to the discretion of the States.