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its own laws, without interference, directly or indirectly, from any outside power. The gentleman says that is squatter sovereignty. Call it squatter sovereighty, call it popular sovereignty, call it what you please, it is the great principle of self-government on which this Union was formed, and by the preservation of which alone it can be maintained. It is the right of the people of every state to govern themselves and make their own laws, and be protected from outside violence or interference, directly or indirectly. Sir, I confess the object of the legislation I contemplate is to put down this outside interference; it is to repress this "irrepressible conflict;" it is to bring the government back to the true principles of the Constitution, and let each people in this Union rest secure in the enjoyment of domestic tranquility without apprehension from neighboring states. I will not occupy further time.
On the 29th of February, Mr. Seward having addressed the Senate, Mr. Douglas said:
MR. PRESIDENT: I trust I shall be pardoned for a few remarks upon so much of the senator's speech as consists in an assault on the Democratic party, and especially with regard to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, of which I was the responsible author. It has become fashionable now-a-days for each gentleman making a speech against the Democratic party to refer to the Kansas-Nebraska Act as the cause of all the disturbances that have since ensued. They talk about the repeal of a sacred compact that had been undisturbed for more than a quarter of a century, as if those who complained of violated faith had been faithful to the provisions of the Missouri Compromise. Sir, wherein consisted the necessity for the repeal or abrogation of that act, except it was that the majority in the northern states refused to carry out the Missouri Compromise in good faith? I stood willing to extend it to the Pacific ocean, and abide by it forever, and the entire South, without one exception in this body, was willing thus to abide by it; but the freesoil element of the northern states was so strong as to defeat that measure, and thus open the slavery question anew. The men who now complain of the abrogation of that act were the very men who denounced it, and denounced all of us who were willing to abide by it so long as it stood upon the statute book. Sir, it was the defeat in the House of Representatives of the enactment of the bill to extend the Missouri Compromise to the Pacific ocean, after it had passed the Senate on my own motion, that opened the controversy of 1850, which was terminated by the adoption of the measures of that year.
We carried those Compromise measures over the head of the senator from New York and his present associates. We, in those measures, established a great principle, rebuking his doctrine of intervention by the Congress of the United States to prohibit slavery in the territories. Both parties, in 1852, pledged themselves to abide by that principle, and thus stood pledged not to prohibit slavery in the territories by act of Congress. The Whig party affirmed that pledge, and so did the Democracy. In 1854 we only carried out, in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the same principle that had been affirmed in the Compromise measures of 1850. I repeat that their resistance to carrying out in good faith the settlement of 1820, their defeat of the bill for extending it to the Pacific ocean, was the sole cause of the agitation of 1850, and gave rise to the necessity of establishing the principle of non-intervention by Congress with slavery in the territories.
Hence I am not willing to sit here and allow the senator from New York, with all the weight of authority he has with the powerful party of which he
is the head, to arraign me and the party to which I belong with the responsibility for that agitation which rests solely upon him and his associates. Sir, the Democratic party was willing to carry out the Compromise in good faith. Having been defeated in that for the want of numbers, and having established the principle of non-intervention in the Compromise measures of 1850, in lieu of it, the Democratic party from that day to this has been faithful to the new principle of adjustment. Whatever agitation has grown out of the question since, has been occasioned by the resistance of the party of which that senator is the head, to this great principle which has been ratified by the American people at two presidential elections. If he was willing to acquiesce in the solemn and repeated judgment of that American people to which he appeals, there would be no agitation in this country now.
But, sir, the whole argument of that senator goes far beyond the question of slavery, even in the territories. His entire argument rests on the assumption that the negro and the white man were equal by Divine law, and hence that all laws and constitutions and governments in violation of the principle of negro equality are in violation of the law of God. That is the basis upon which his speech rests. He quotes the Declaration of Independence to show that the fathers of the Revolution understood that the negro was placed on an equality with the white man, by quoting the clause, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Sir, the doctrine of that senator and of his party is and I have had to meet it for eight years-that the Declaration of Independence intended to recognize the negro and the white man as equal under the Divine law, and hence that all the provisions of the Constitution of the United States which recognizes slavery are in violation of the Divine law. In other words, it is an argument against the Constitution of the United States upon the ground that it is contrary to the law of God. The senator from New York has long held that doctrine. The senator from New York has often proclaimed to the world that the Constitution of the United States was in violation of the Divine law, and that senator will not contradict the statement. I have an extract from one of his speeches now before me, in which that proposition is distinctly put forth. In a speech made in the State of Ohio, in 1848, he said:
Slavery is the sin of not some of the states only, but of them all; of not one nationality, but of all nations. It perverted and corrupted the moral sense of mankind deeply and universally, and this perversion became a universal habit. Habits of thought become fixed principles. No American state has yet delivered itself entirely from these habits. We, in New York, are guilty of slavery still by withholding the rights of suffrage from the race we have emancipated. You, in Ohio, are guilty in the same way by a system of black laws still more aristocratic and odious. It is written in the Constitution of the United States that five slaves shall count equal to three freemen as a basis of representation; and it is written also, IN VIOLATION OF DIVINE LAW, that we shall surrender the fugitive slave who takes refuge at our fireside from his relentless pursuers."
There you find his doctrine clearly laid down, that the Constitution of the United States is "in violation of the Divine law," and therefore is not to be obeyed. You are told that the clause relating to fugitives slaves, being in violation of the Divine law, is not binding on mankind. This has been the doctrine of the senator from New York for years. I have not heard it in the Senate to-day for the first time. I have met in my own State, for the last ten years, this same doctrine, that the Declaration of Independence recognized the negro and the white man as equal; that the negro and white man are equals by Divine law, and that every provision of our Constitution and laws
which establishes inequality between the negro and the white man is void, because contrary to the law of God.
The senator from New York says, in the very speech from which I have quoted, that New York is yet a slave state. Why? Not that she has a slave within her limits, but because the Constitution of New York does not allow a negro to vote on an equality with a white man. For that reason, he says, New York is still a slave state; for that reason every other state that discriminates between the negro and the white man is a slave state, leaving but a very few states in the Union that are free from his objection. Yet, notwithstanding the senator is committed to these doctrines, notwithstanding the leading men of his party are committed to them, he argues that they have been accused of being in favor of negro equality, and says the tendency of their doctrine is the equality of the white man. He introduces the objection, and fails to answer it. He states the proposition, and dodges it, to leave the inference that he does not indorse it. Sir, I desire to see these gentlemen carry out their principles to the logical conclusion. If they will persist in the declaration that the negro is made the equal of the white man, and that any inequality is in violation of the Divine law, then let them carry it out in their legislation by conferring on the negroes all the rights of citizenship the same as on white men. For one, I never held to any such doctrine. I hold that the Declaration of Independence was only referring to the white man-to the governing race of this country, who were in conflict with Great Britain, and had no reference to the negro race at all when it declared that all men were created equal.
Sir, if the signers of that declaration had understood the instrument then as the senator from New York now construes it, were they not bound on that day, at that very hour, to emancipate all their slaves? If Mr. Jefferson had meant that his negro slaves were created by the Almighty his equals, was he not bound to emancipate the slaves on the very day that he signed his name to the Declaration of Independence? Yet no one of the signers of that declaration emancipated his slaves. No one of the states on whose behalf the declaration was signed emancipated its slaves until after the Revolution was over. Every one of the original colonies, every one of the thirteen original states, sanctioned and legalized slavery until after the Revolution was closed. These facts show conclusively that the Declaration of Independence was never intended to bear the construction placed upon it by the senator from New York, and by that enormous tribe of lecturers that go through the country delivering lectures in country school houses and basements of churches to Abolitionists, in order to teach the children that the Almighty had put his seal of condemnation upon any inequality between the white man and the negro.
Mr. President, I am free to say here—what I have said over and over again at home-that, in my opinion, this government was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and should be administered by white men, and by none other whatsoever.
Mr. Doolittle. I will ask the honorable senator, then, why not give the territories to white men?
Mr. Douglas. Mr. President, I am in favor of throwing the territories open to all the white men, and all the negroes, too, that choose to go, and then allow the white man to govern the territory. I would not let one of the negroes, free or slave, either vote or hold office anywhere, where I had the right, under the Constitution, to prevent it. I am in favor of each state and each territory of this Union taking care of its own negroes, free or slave. If they want slavery, let them have it; if they desire to prohibit slavery, let them do it; it is their business, not mine. We in Illinois tried slavery while we were a territory, and found it was not profitable; and hence we turned
philanthropists and abolished it, just as our British friends across the ocean did. They established slavery in all their colonies, and when they found they could not make any more money out of it, abolished it. I hold that the question of slavery is one of political economy, governed by the laws of climate, soil, productions, and self-interest, and not by mere statutory provision. I repudiate the doctrine, that because free institutions may be best in one climate, they are, necessarily, the best every where; or that because slavery may be indispensable in one locality, therefore it is desirable every where. I hold that a wise statesman will always adapt his legislation to the wants, interests, condition and necessities of the people to be governed by it. One people will bear different institutions from another. One climate demands different institutions from another. I repeat, then, what I have often had occasion to say, that I do not think uniformity is either possible or desirable. I wish to see no two states precisely alike in their domestic institutions in this Union. Our system rests on the supposition that each state has something in her condition or climate, or her circumstances, requiring laws and institutions different from every other state of the Union. Hence I answer the question of the senator from Wisconsin, that I am willing that a territory settled by white men shall have negroes, free or slave, just as the white men shall determine, but not as the negro shall prescribe.
The senator from New York has coined a new definition of the states of the Union-labor states and capital states. The capital states, I believe, are the slaveholding states; the labor states are the non-slaveholding states. It has taken that senator a good many years to coin that phrase and bring it into use. I have heard him discuss these favorite theories of his for the last ten years, I think, and I never heard of capital states and labor states before. It strikes me that something has recently occurred up in New England that makes it politic to get up a question between capital and labor, and take the side of the numbers against the few. We have seen some accounts in the newspapers of combinations and strikes among the journeymen shoemakers in the towns there-labor against capital. The senator has a new word ready coined to suit their case, and make the laborers believe that he is on the side of the most numerous class of voters.
What produced that strike among the journeymen shoemakers? Why are the mechanics of New England, the laborers and the employees, now reduced to the starvation point? Simply because, by your treason, by your sectional agitation, you have created a strife between the North and the South, have driven away your southern customers, and thus deprive the laborers of the means of support. This is the fruit of your Republican dogmas. It is another step, following John Brown, of the irrepressible conflict." Therefore, we now get this new coinage of "labor states"-he is on the side of the shoemakers, (laughter), and "capital states"-he is against those that furnish the hides. (Laughter.) I think those shoemakers will understand this business. They know why it is that they do not get so many orders as they did a few months ago. It is not confined to the shoemakers; it reaches every mechanic's shop and every factory. All the large laboring establishments of the North feel the pressure produced by the doctrine of the "irrepressible conflict." This new coinage of words will not save them from the just responsibility that follows the doctrines they have been inculcating. If they had abandoned the doctrine of the "irrepressible conflict," and proclaimed the true doctrine of the Constitution, that each state is entirely free to do just as it pleases, have slavery as long as it chooses, and abolish it when it wishes, there would be no conflict; the northern and southern states would be brethren; there would be fraternity between us, and your shoemakers would not strike for higher prices.
Mr. Clark. Will the senator pardon me for interrupting him a moment?
Mr. Douglas. I will not give way for a speech; I will for a suggestion. Mr. Clark. I desire simply to make one single suggestion in regard to what the senator from Illinois said in reference to the condition of the laboring classes in the factories. I come from a city where there are three thousand operatives, and there never was a time when they were more contented and better paid in the factories than now, and when their business was better than at this present time.
Mr. Douglas. I was speaking of the scarcity of labor growing up in our northern manufacturing towns, as a legitimate and natural consequence of the diminution of the demand for the manufactured article; and then the question is, what cause has reduced this demand, except the "irrepressible conflict" that has turned the southern trade away from northern cities into southern towns and southern cities? Sir, the feeling among the masses of the south we find typified in the dress of the senator from Virginia, (Mr. Mason); they are determined to wear the homespun of their own productions rather than trade with the north. That is the feeling which has produced this state of distress in our manufacturing towns.
The senator from New York has also referred to the recent action of the people of New Mexico, in establishing a code for the protection of property in slaves, and he congratulates the country upon the final success of the advocates of free institutions in Kansas. He could not fail, however, to say, in order to preserve what he thought was a striking antithesis, that popular sovereignty in Kansas meant state sovereignty in Missouri. No, sir; popular sovereignty in Kansas was stricken down by unholy combination in New England to ship men to Kansas-rowdies and vagabonds-with the Bible in one hand and Sharpe's rifle in the other, to shoot down the friends of self-government. Popular sovereignty in Kansas was stricken down by the combinations in the northern states to carry elections under pretence of emigrant aid societies. In retaliation, Missouri formed aid societies too; and she, following your example, sent men into Kansas and then occurred the conflict. Now, you throw the blame upon Missouri merely because she followed your example, and attempted to resist its consequences. I condemn both; but I condemn a thousand-fold more those who set the example and struck the first blow, than those who thought they would act upon the principle of fighting the devil with his own weapons, and resorted to the same means that you had employed.
But, sir, notwithstanding the efforts of the emigrant aid societies, the people of Kansas have had their own way, and the people of New Mexico have had their own way. Kansas had adopted a free state; New Mexico has established a slave territory. I am content with both. If the people of New Mexico want slavery, let them have it, and I never will vote to repeal their slave code. If Kansas does not want slavery, I will not help anybody to force it on her. Let each do as it pleases. When Kansas comes to the conclusion that slavery will suit her, and promote her interest better than the prohibition, let her pass her own slave code; I will not pass it for her. Whenever New Mexico gets tired of her code, she must repeal it for herself; I will not repeal it for her. Non-intervention by Congress with slavery in the territories is the platform on which I stand.
But I want to know why will not the senator from New York carry out his principles to their logical conclusion? Why is there not a man in that whole party, in this body or in the House of Representatives, bold enough to redeem the pledges which that party has made to the country? I believe you said, in your Philadelphia platform, that Congress had sovereign power over the territories for their government, and that it was the duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism, slavery and polygamy. Why do you not carry out your pledges? Why do you not in