Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Missouri Compromise: Rufus King and the Higher Law

Compare and contrast:

But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes. The territory is a part, no inconsiderable part, of the common heritage of mankind, bestowed upon them by the Creator if the universe. We are his stewards, and must so discharge our trust as to secure in the highest attainable degree their happiness.

William Seward, 1850

I have yet to learn that one man can make a slave of another -- if one man cannot do it, no number of individuals can have any better right to do it, and I hold that all laws or compacts imposing such a condition upon any human being are absolutely void because contrary to the law of nature, which is the law of God, by which he makes his way known to man, and is paramount to all human control.

Rufus King, 1819.

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