"SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND THEREFORE UNLAWFUL": FIRST EDITION OF THE SPEECH OF HON. AMOS P. GRANGER, OF NEW YORK 1856
(SLAVERY) GRANGER, Amos P. Speech of Hon. Amos P. Granger, of New York, in the House of Representatives, April 4, 1856, The House Being in the Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union. The Slavery Question. [Washington]: (Congressional Globe, 1856). Octavo, disbound; pp. 8. $350.
First edition of this powerful 1856 congressional speech arguing that slavery was unconstitutional, both from a rights perspective and in the sense that it literally did not exist in the Constitution.
In this speech, New York Representative Amos P. Granger presents a compelling, legally grounded argument against the Constitution permitting slavery. Granger asserts that the writ of habeas corpus and the ban on bills of attainder mean that no man can be a slave within the United States. According to Granger, a man cannot be a slave insofar as he cannot legally be deprived of his rights without trial. This core argument has resonated through the centuries and been used as recently as the past decade in reference to the Guantanamo Bay detainees. Granger's speech was motivated by the events Bleeding Kansas, the violent conflict over the legality of slavery in the Kansas Territory and whether Kansas would be admitted to the Union as a free or slave state. Electoral fraud was a key part of Bleeding Kansas. Granger's contention here was that a congressional committee had the responsibility to investigate whether invaders from Missouri had illegally voted, meddling in Kansas' election to shift the election in a pro-slavery direction. Of course, Granger's strident anti-slavery stance was no means beloved by the entirety of the split congress. During the summer of 1856, as tensions reached a height, Granger was attacked by Virginia Representative Fayette McMullin, who trapped him in a headlock and hit him repeatedly in the face, drawing blood. Sabin 28280.
Pages loose due to removed binding, wear to disbound edges, mild toning and faint dampstaining. Very good condition.