I will repeat before you read what Phillips said in regard to slavery that it is also as relevant to the other half of the corrupt bargain that installed slavery and enhanced the power of the slave-holding subset of the aristocracy that wrote the Constitution ("Forty of the shrewdest men and lawyers in the land"). What he said about the enhancement of the privilege and profit of the slave-holders was as true of the privileges and profits of the northern financial, mercantile and banking interests and provisions and laws installed for the enhancement and perpetuation of their class interests. Those are exactly the same mechanisms that have been used by courts and legislatures and presidents to thwart equality and real democracy with few exceptions, ever since, they are exactly the same things that gave us Bush II installed by Supreme Court fiat and then Trump through the Electoral College and the manipulation by propaganda of billionaires both foreign and domestic.
But the purpose, for which we have thrown these pages before the community, is this. Some men, finding the nation unanimously deciding that the Constitution tolerates slavery, have tried to prove that this false construction, as they think it, has been foisted into the instrument by the corrupting influence of slavery itself, tainting all it touches. They assert that the known anti-slavery spirit of revolutionary times never could have consented to so infamous a bargain as the Constitution is represented to be, and has in its present hands become. Now these pages prove the melancholy fact, that willingly, with deliberate purpose, our fathers bartered honesty for gain, and became partners with tyrants, that they might share in the profits of their tyranny.
And in view of this fact, will it not require a very strong argument to make any candid man believe, that the bargain which the fathers tell us they meant to incorporate into the Constitution, and which the sons have always thought they found there incorporated, does not exists there, after all Forty of the shrewdest men and lawyers in the land assemble to make a bargain, among other things, about slaves. After months of anxious deliberation, they put it into writing, and sign their names to the instrument. Fifty years roll away, - twenty millions, at least, of their children pass over the stage of life, - courts sit and pass judgment, - parties arise and struggle fiercely; still, all concur in finding in the instrument just the meaning which the fathers tell us they intended to express: - must not he be a desperate man, who, after all this, sets out to prove that the fathers were bunglers and the sons fools, and that slavery is not referred to at all?
Besides, the advocates of this new theory of the Anti-slavery character of the Constitution quote some portions of the Madison Papers in support of their views, - and this makes it proper that the community should hear all that these Debates have to say on the subject. The further we explore them, the clearer it becomes the fact, that the Constitution was meant to be, what it has always been esteemed, a compromise between slavery and freedom.
If, then, the Constitution be, what these Debates show that our fathers intended to make it, and what, too, their descendants, this nation, say they did make it and agree to uphold, - then we affirm that it is "a covenant with death and an agreement with hell," and ought to be immediately annulled. No abolitionist can consistently take office under it, or swear to support it.
But if, on the contrary, our fathers failed in their purpose, and the Constitution is all pure and untouched by slavery - then Union itself is impossible without guilt. For it is undeniable that the fifty years passed under this (anti-slavery) Constitution show us the slaves trebling in numbers; - slaveholders monopolizing the offices and dictating the policy of the Government; - prostituting the strength and influence of the nation to the support of slavery here and elsewhere; trampling on the rights of the free States, and making the courts of the country their tools. To continue this disastrous alliance longer is madness. The trial of fifty year with the best of men and the best of Constitutions, on this supposition, only proves that it is impossible for free and slave States to unite on any terms, without all becoming partners in the guilt, and responsible for the sin of slavery. We dare not prolong the experiment, and with double earnestness we repeat our demand upon every honest man to join in the outcry of the American Anti-Slavery Society, -