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The Unconstitutionality of Slavery by Spooner

THE

UNCONSTITUTIONALITY

OF

SLAVERY.

BY LYSANDER SPOONER.

BOSTON:

PUBLISHED BY BELA MARSH,

NO. 25 CORNHILL.

1845.

ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by LYSANDER SPOONER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

DOW & JACKSON'S ANTI-SLAVERY PRESS.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.--WHAT IS LAW? PAGE 5

" II.--WRITTEN CONSTITUTIONS, 18

" III.--THE COLONIAL CHARTERS, 24

" IV.--COLONIAL STATUTES, 36

" V.--THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, 42

" VI.--THE STATE CONSTITUTIONS OF 1789. (MEANING OF THE WORD "FREE,") 46

" VII.--THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION, 61

" VIII.--THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, 65

" IX.--THE INTENTIONS OF THE CONVENTION, 135

" X.--THE PRACTICE OF THE GOVERNMENT, 145

" XI.--THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PEOPLE, 147

" XII.--THE STATE CONSTITUTIONS OF 1845, 150

" XIII.--THE CHILDREN OF SLAVES ARE BORN FREE, 153

THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF SLAVERY.

CHAPTER I.

WHAT IS LAW?

Before examining the language of the Constitution, in regard to Slavery, let us obtain a view of the principles, by virtue of which _law_ arises out of those constitutions and compacts, by which people agree to establish government.

To do this it is necessary to define the term _law_. Popular opinions are very loose and indefinite, both as to the true definition of law, and also as to the principle, by virtue of which law results from the compacts or contracts of mankind with each other.

What then is LAW? That law, I mean, which, and which only, judicial tribunals are morally bound, under all circumstances, to declare and sustain?

In answering this question, I shall attempt to show that law is an intelligible principle of right, necessarily resulting from the nature of man; and not an arbitrary rule, that can be established by mere will, numbers or power.

To determine whether this proposition be correct, we must look at the _general_ signification of the term _law_.


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