‘The fact that Mr. [James] Madison can be cited on both sides of this question [of slavery] is another evidence of the folly and absurdity of making the secret intentions of the framers the criterion by which the Constitution is to be construed.’
~ Frederick Douglass, ‘The Constitution of the United States: is it Pro-Slavery or Anti-Slavery?’
Speech delivered in Glasgow, Scotland, March 26th, 1860
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Early on his career as an abolitionist speaker and activist, Frederick Douglass is a dedicated Garrisonian: anti-violence, anti-voting, anti-Union, and anti-Constitution…
[But] by the early 1850’s, the abolitionist par excellence had come to disagree with Garrison, father of American radical abolitionism, and to agree with Lincoln, proponent of preserving the Union at all costs and of the gradual phasing out of slavery.
So how does Douglass come to make what seems such a counterintuitive change in his views on the Constitution and on the role of violence, voting, and the Union in bringing an end to slavery?… Read the original essay here
Ordinary Philosophy and its Traveling Philosophy / History of Ideas series is a labor of love and is ad-free, entirely supported by patrons and readers like you. Please offer your support today!