Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jefferson Davis, Mississippian

This morning I read the first few chapters of Shelby Foote's Civil War Narrative. I read about Jefferson Davis, his youth, his character, his desire to be a leader of his people, his tenacity and his heroism. Quite remarkable. We have little knowledge of the way in which realities impose themselves on character, even sometimes flawed character. As it is said, the line between good and evil shifts in the soul of every man. Every man! I find it more than passing strange people these days and in the Scruggs Litigation find it so easy to judge. I find it sad, and I find it immoral.

And, that is what I also want to say. What to we look for in the law, in judging? We want to have faith in the process and the people. We know there is an animating principle at work in the core of the process. So what is it? I listened to Abraham Lincoln's rebuttal to the speech Stephen Douglas gave about Kansas - Nebraska Act, the one he gave in Peoria, Illinois. The first response Mr. Lincoln gave to one of Douglas' speeches. What was the essential point? It was simply this, morality.

I particularly object to the NEW position which the avowed principle of this Nebraska law gives to slavery in the body politic. I object to it because it assumes that there CAN be a MORAL RIGHT in the enslaving of one man by another.
It was immoral to treat another human being as a chattel. And, that was it, and that was all.

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