— George William Curtis American writer 1824 - 1892
1850s, The Present Aspect of the Slavery Question (1859)
Kontext: Our fathers, therefore, were fully alive to the scope of their words and their work; and thus, as I believe, the Constitution of the United States, in its essential spirit and intention, recognizes the essential manhood of Dred Scott as absolutely as it does that of the President, of the Chief Justice, or of any Senator of the United States. I think I have not unfairly stated the spirit of the age, the sentiments of the fathers, and the original doctrine of this government upon the question of slavery. The system was recognized by law, but it was considered an evil which Time was surely removing. And, as if to put this question at rest forever, to show that the framers of this government did not look forward to a continuance of slavery, Mr. Stephens of Georgia, the most sagacious of the living slavery leaders, says, in June of this year, 'The leading public men of the South, in our early history, were almost all against it. Jefferson was against it. This I freely admit, when the authority of their names is cited. It was a question which they did not, and perhaps could not, thoroughly understand at that time'.