Washington (DC) National Era, “Inconsistency,” October 1, 1857

    Source citation
    “Inconsistency,” Washington (DC) National Era, October 1, 1857, p. 158: 6.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Washington National Era
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    Patrick Sheahan, Dickinson College
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    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


    The President, in his letter to the New Haven gentlemen, said:

    “Slavery existed at that period, and still exists in Kansas, under the Constitution of the United States. This point has at last been finally decided by the highest tribunal known to our laws. How it could have ever been seriously doubted is a mystery. If a confederation of sovereign States acquire a new Territory at the expense of their common blood and treasure, surely one set of the partners can have no right to exclude the other from its enjoyment, by prohibiting them from taking into it whatsoever is recognized to be property by the common Constitution.”

    In his letter accepting the nomination of the Cincinnati Convention, Mr. Buchanan said:

    “This legislation is founded upon principles as ancient as free government itself, and in accordance with them, has simply declared that the people of a Territory, like those of a State, shall decided for themselves whether Slavery shall or shall not exist within their limits.

    “The Nebraska-Kansas act does no more than give the force of law to this elementary principle of self-government declaring it to be ‘the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.”

    “This principle will surely not be controverted by any individual of any party professing devotion to popular government. Besides, how vain and illusory would any other principle prove in practice, in regard to the Territories? This is apparent from the fact, admitted by all, that, after a Territory shall have entered the Union, and become a State, no constitutional power would then exist which could prevent it from either abolishing or establishing Slavery, as the case may be, according to its sovereign will and pleasure.”

    Here is an inconsistency which we recommend to the attention of Administration journals.

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