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Stone Collection: Volume 52 - Item 3
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Alfred H. Stone Collection
Volume: 52

3. Lysander Spooner, The Unconstitutionality of Slavery (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1847). (132 p.)

Legal history of the right to own slaves in the United States starting with the colonial charters and extending through the first state constitutions, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, to the state constitutions of 1845. The monograph ends with a chapter entitled “The Children of Slaves Are Born Free,” in which the author argues that “the principle of natural law, which makes a calf belong to the owner of the cow, does not make the child of a slave belong to the owner of a slave—and why? Simply because both cow and calf are naturally subjects of property; while neither men nor children are naturally subjects of property. The law of nature gives no aid to anything inconsistent with itself” (emphasis in original).