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By James Russell Lowell

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The key obstacle for the founders was that, to them, the right to property was as fundamental as the right to liberty. ’’ The result was a dilemma. On the one hand, slavery violated the sacred right of the slave to liberty. ≥∞ That the founding fathers could not cut the Gordian knot may strike the modern reader as ludicrous, but it should not. The founders lived in their time, not ours. ] Figure 2. Philadelphia street scene. Both slaves and free blacks were routine participants in the daily life of eighteenth-century Philadelphia.

If the latter, then he too had no thought that Congress could ever interfere with the interstate trade. The most conclusive proof that most southerners did not think the Constitution gave the federal government the right to interfere with the domestic slave trade lies not in what supporters of the Constitution like Pinckney and Ramsay said, however, but rather in what their Antifederalist opponents did not say during the ratification debates. Although the Antifederalists racked their brains to conjure up every possible objection to the Constitution, not one of them ever suggested that it opened the way for Congress to restrict the interstate movement of slaves.

If slavery is an evil, it is one for which there is no remedy. Even to discuss it is harmful, as it undermines the value of slaves. Such talk also may buoy up the slaves with false hopes for freedom, which will make them unruly and their masters proportionately more harsh in their discipline. Slaves are treated humanely, and, because they belong to an inferior race, are happy with their lot. ’’) Slavery has existed throughout history. It is sanctioned by the Bible. Slaves are essential to the economy of the South.

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Abraham Lincoln by James Russell Lowell


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