Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Guarantees of liberty. Among these are . . . the right to bear arms"

"...We do not want a change of the Constitution to abolish slavery, but a change of sentiment. The Constitution is plastic in the hands of slavery or anti-slavery. No one doubts that the general objects of the Constitution as expressed in the preamble, are Anti-Slavery. In interpreting it we are to look at the evident intention of its adoption, as thus expressed. Strict construction is the order of the day, and everything that does not clearly favor slavery must be otherwise interpreted. Now look at the supposed pro-slavery clauses. First, the clause providing for a three fifths representation for slaves. I am willing to admit its inexpediency, but if slavery were abolished, Southern representation would be increased. Slavery and the slave trade existed at the formation of the Constitution, and it is not responsible for them. There are guarantees in it wholly incompatible with slavery. Guarantees of liberty. Among these are the rights of free speech, a free press. The right to assemble peaceably for the redress of grievances, the right to bear arms and the right of jury trial.

   "We have laws contravening these, but it is on account of defective public sentiment. When the Constitution was formed twelve out of thirteen were slave States; the slave trade existed; each State might pursue it as it pleased, and we gained by the Constitution its prohibition after twenty years. Was that nothing? I might enlarge on it, and show that it was a great thing to Anti-Slavery. Without it we would now have twenty millions of slaves instead of three."--Mr. [Samuel Charles] Blackwell of Cincinnati, Address to the Cincinnati Anti-Slavery Convention. [Anti-slavery Bugle, Salem, Columbiana Co., Ohio, May 07, 1853. Vol. 8--No. 33. Pg. 2]

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