Garrison on the Constitution
William Lloyd Garrison, The United States Constitution (1852)
"We charge . . . that [the Constitution] was formed at the expense of human liberty, by a profligate surrender of principle, and to this hour is cemented with human blood . . . .
"To the argument, that the words slaves' and 'slavery' are not to be found in the Constitution, and therefore that it was never intended to give any protection or countenance to the slave system, it is sufficient to reply, that though no such words are contained in the instrument, other words were used, intelligently and specifically, to meet the necessities of slavery. . . .
"Three millions of the American people are crushed under the American Union! They are held as slaves, trafficked as merchandise, registered as goods and chattels! The government gives them no protection-the government is their enemy, the government keeps them in chains! The Union which grinds them to the dust rests upon us, and with them we will struggle to overthrow it! The Constitution which subjects them to hopeless bondage is one that we cannot swear to support. Our motto is, 'No Union with Slave holders.' . . . We separate from them to clear our skirts of innocent blood and to hasten the downfall of slavery in America, and throughout the world!"