Baltimore: Murphy & Co., 1859. 40pp, disbound and lightly foxed, Good+.
Johnson was an authoritative voice on the issue of Popular Sovereignty: he was counsel for the slaveowners in the Dred Scott case, which held that Congress could not bar slavery from the territories. Douglas's opponents immediately noted that the decision destroyed the underpinnings of Popular Sovereignty. Douglas sought to counter Dred Scott by arguing that slavery's viability in a given location depended upon friendly local legislation. A territorial legislature could, as a practical matter, bar slavery by simply refusing to enact such laws; but Southern Rights proponents insisted that territories had a duty to do so.
Here Johnson weighed in, against Southern Rights advocates and in support of Douglas on the eve of his presidential candidacy. He makes a 'natural rights' argument that, although Congress lacks power to prohibit or establish slavery in a territory, a territorial legislature may do so. "That slavery, an artificial instead of a natural condition, should be beyond the reach of human power, under any form of government...in disregard of the wishes of all branches of the government, and of all general or local power, is a doctrine so extraordinary that it almost defies human judgment."
Howes J143. Sabin 36266, and after 69421. LCP Afro-Am 5337. Item #28942