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9 S LAVERY : A MER I CA S F ATAL C OMPROMI SE

Politics should be considered the art of implementing rights. Because it has not been so considered, the concept of rights itself has been clouded, and therefore so has the concept of the proper limitations of government. And of all the issues which have been improperly the subject of compromise in American political history, by far the most important is the issue of slavery.

The sad fact is that for many years those who were most brilliant in their analysis of rights, those who were most incisive in their understanding of free trade and a free market, were willing to use the concept of rights to violate the rights of others. The Declaration of Independence was originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson, who was one of a committee appointed by the Second Continental Congress for that purpose. Changes were made in the document before it was adopted by Congress—and one of the most startling changes was the omission of the following passage about George III of England: “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating by carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death

Page 11 - WS109

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