Thomas's Use of Declaration Preamble
SLevinson at MAIL.LAW.UTEXAS.EDU
Thu Aug 10 11:17:11 PDT 2000
John Eastman wites:
>But, if we are to look just to the Declaration, the idea that the only
>"just" governments are those based on consent, and that a government that
>refused to recognize the self-evident equality of all human beings (such as
>one that countenances slavery) is not based on consent, therefore not
>"just." Such a government is despotic, not republican. A republican form
>of government may well mean more than that, of course, but it surely means
>at least this.
Then doesn't John have to agree with William Lloyd Garrison that the
Constitution was indeed a covenant with death and an agreement with hell?
And, incidentally, Lincoln scarcely read the Constitution as anti-slavery
per se. Thus he supported the egregious Corwin Amendment of 1861 that
would have in effect guaranteed in perpetuity the maintenance of slavery in
states where it then existed. The fight that led to secession was over the
legitimacy of slavery in the territories, a not insignificant issue, but
there was an no difference of opinion between Jefferson Davis and Abraham
Lincoln about the constitutional legitimacy of slavery in Virginia or
Mississippi (or, as Unionists have to recognize, Missouri, Kentucky,
Maryland, and Delaware). And Lincoln's government enforced the Fugitive
Slave Act until 1864.
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