Defense of Slavery As a Benefit to Society, John C. Calhoun, April 18, 1844


"So long as Great Britain confined her policy to the abolition of slavery in her own possessions and colonies, no other country had a right to complain. . . . But when she goes beyond, and avows it as her settled policy, and the object of her constant exertions, to abolish it throughout the world, she makes it duty of all other countries, whose safety or prosperity may be endangered by her policy, to adopt such measures as they may deem necessary for their protection. . . .

. . . The policy she has adopted in reference to the portion of that race in her dominions may be humane and wise; but it does not follow, if it prove so with her, that it would be so in reference to the United states and other countries, whose situation differs from hers. . . . With us, it is a question to be decided, not by the Federal Government, but by each member of this Union for itself, according to its own views of its domestic policy, and without any right on the part of the Federal Government to interfere in any manner whatsoever. . . . A large number of the States has decided that it is neither wise nor humane to change the relation which has existed, from their first settlement, between the two races; while others, where the African is less numerous, have adopted the opposite policy.

It belongs not to the Government to question whether the former have decided or wisely or not; . . . if the experience of more than half a century is to decide, it would be neither humane or wise in them to change their policy. The census and other authentic documents show that, in all instances in which the States have changed the former relations between the two races, the condition of the African, instead of being improved, has become worse. They have been invariably sunk into vice and pauperism . . . while, in all other States which have retained the ancient relation between them, they have improved greatly in every respect - in number, comfort, intelligence, and morals - as the following facts, taken from such sources, will serve to illustrate:

The number of deaf, dumb, blind, idiots, and insane, of the negroes in the States that have changed the ancient relation between the races, is one out of every ninety-six; while in the States adhering to it, it is one out of every six hundred and seventy-two - that is, seven to one in favor of the latter, as compared with the former. . . .

. . . On the other hand, census and other authentic sources of information established the fact, that the condition of the African race throughout all the States where the ancient relation between the two has been retained, enjoys a degree of health and comfort which may well compare with that of the laboring population of any country in Christendom; and, it may be added, that in no other condition, or in any other age or country, has the negro race ever attained so high an elevation in morals, intelligence, or civilization.

If such be the wretched condition of the race in their changed relation, where their number is comparatively few, and where so much interest is manifested for their improvement, what would it be in those States where the two races are nearly equal in numbers, and where, in consequence, would necessarily spring up mutual fear, jealousy, and hatred between them? It may, in truth, be assumed as a maxim, that two races differing so greatly, and in so many respects, cannot possibly exist together in the same country, where their numbers are nearly equal, without the one being subjected to the other. Experience has proved that the existing relationship, in which the one is subjected to the other in the slave-holding States, is consistent with the peace and safety of both, with great improvement to the inferior; . . . In this view of the subject, it may be asserted, that what is called slavery is in reality a political institution, essential to the peace, safety, and prosperity of those States of the Union in which it exists."