Front Page Titles (by Subject) XXIV. - Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States
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XXIV. - Lysander Spooner, Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States 
Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States (Boston: Thayer & Eldridge, 1860).
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It is abundantly evident, from what has now been said, that the constitution of the United States, “the supreme law of the land,” must necessarily fix the status of every individual, within the United States, either as a free person, or a slave; and that it must do this, “any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” It is also abundantly evident that, if any person be made free by that supreme law, he is free everywhere under that law; and that, if any one be made a slave by that law, then, constitutionally speaking, he is a slave everywhere under that law; and his owner may carry him, and hold him, as property, wherever he pleases, within the United States, free of all responsibility to the constitutions or laws of the States.
It is also evident that, if the United States constitution itself makes a man slave, the general government, no more than the State governments, can give him his freedom.
The real issue, then, before the country, is, whether slavery is lawful everywhere within the United States, with no power, either in the general or State governments, to prohibit it, without an amendment to the constitution of the United States? or whether it be unlawful everywhere, within the United States, and it be the duty of both the general and State governments to prohibit it?
We entreat all, who act politically under the constitution of the United States, to keep this issue distinctly in view, and to hold all men and all parties strictly to it; and to give no vote, and no word of sympathy or support, to any man, or body of men, who either evade it, or hesitate, or equivocate about it. Above all, give no vote or support to those public men, who give their rant, declamation, and pretended moral sentiments to liberty, and, at the same time, give over to slavery the constitution of the country, and their oaths to support it. These men are practically the best supporters of slavery there now are in the country. They do it a service, which no other men can. From the confidence reposed in their professions, they have power to deceive honest men as to their rights and duties under the constitution, and thus hold them back from any direct assault, political or otherwise. And this power they are exerting to their utmost for the security of slavery. The open friends of slavery have nearly or quite lost all power of this kind. They have also deprived themselves of nearly all moral sympathy and support. By their indiscreet and head-long zeal for slavery, they long ago disgusted everybody but themselves. They have now succeeded in disgusting even themselves, especially in the north. Their ranks are broken, their minds disaffected, and both their moral and political power in a great measure wasted away. Should any one of the factions, into which they are divided, succeed in filling the executive department of the government, that acquisition will give them no real power in the country. Their possession of that department, therefore, is not a thing to be dreaded. Better, far better, that the presidency should be in the hands of an open, but powerless enemy of liberty, than in those of a powerful, but false, perjured, and traitorous friend.
We, therefore, entreat that all, who give their votes at all, at the ensuing election, will give them unequivocally for freedom. It will not be necessary that they should wait for, or that there should be, any national nomination of candidates. It will be sufficient that, in each State, electoral candidates be named. If any of them should be chosen, they can give their votes (as the constitution contemplated they would give them), for the persons they shall think most worthy.
But if, as is very likely to be the result, no one of these electoral candidates should be chosen, the votes given for them will nevertheless not have been thrown away. The great object is to procure the defeat of the Republicans. If defeated on the sixth of November, the faction itself will be extinct on the seventh. Those of its members who intend to support slavery, will then go over openly into its ranks; while those who intend to support liberty, will come unmistakably to her side. She will then know her friends from her foes. And thenceforth the issue will be distinctly made up, whether this be, or be not, a free country for all? And this one issue will hold its place before the country, until it shall be decided in favor of freedom.