Salmon Chase Liberty Man’s Creed

In a prior post I quoted from the Liberty Man’s Creed, first published by Chase in 1844. In this post I want to put up the whole document, because I find it so interesting, and because it has not been mentioned in prior biographies.

Here it is, from the Cincinnati Weekly Herald and Philanthropist of September 11, 1844:

I believe all men created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I believe that every laborer is entitled to fair wages for honest work.

I believe that slavery is so odious that nothing can uphold it except positive law, and that all such law violates inalienable rights, and ought to be immediately abrogated.

I believe that the settled policy of the American Government, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, was to limit and localize, not to extend and nationalize slavery.

I believe that the Constitution of the United States confers on Congress no power to establish or uphold slavery anywhere; but, on the contrary, expressly prohibits the general government from depriving any person of liberty except by due process of law.

I believe that whenever the United States acquire, by cessions of particular states or foreign nations, any territory whatever in which slavery may exist, that the jurisdiction of the ceding state or nation ceases at the moment of cession, and that slavery, being thenceforth destitute of the support of positive law, ceases also, and cannot be re-established or contained by Congress without a manifest violation of the Constitution.

I believe that slavery in the District of Columbia and the Territory of Florida, and in all the states created out of any Territory of the United States, is anti-constitutional.

I believe that the clause in the Constitution which allows to slaveholders of the original states a representation in Congress for three-fifths of their slaves is altogether anti-Republican, extremely dangerous to the liberties of the people, and ought to be abrogated by an an express amendment of the Constitution.

I believe that the slaveholders have substantially controlled the Government almost from the beginning and ought to control it no longer, and that their political power has increased, is increasing and ought to be destroyed.

I believe that the slaveholders have filled and now fill the greatest part of the offices of the Government, and that nearly all the rest are filled by dough-faces, and that the power of the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary have all been prostituted to the support and perpetuation of slavery.

I believe the offices of Government ought to be filled by non-slaveholders, known as true friends of Equal and Impartial Justice to all men; and that the Policy of this Government should be directed to the establishment of Liberty, the procuring and extension of markets for free labor, and the discontinuance of all forms of oppression.

I believe that, whenever Liberty men can obtain the control of any state legislature by electing a majority of its members, all unjust and oppressive enactments will be repealed; men, who cannot be seduced or driven from the advocacy of Freedom and Free Labor will be placed in the United States Senate; and this state itself will become more prosperous and more respected.

I believe that whenever Liberty men shall obtain the control of Congress all laws for the maintenance of slavery in the District and in Florida, and for the special encouragement of slave labor, will be repealed; and that the coastwise and interstate slave trade will be prohibited and that resolutions, declaring slavery unconstitutional in all new states created out of territories, and recommending to the legislators of the original states the abolition of slavery within their respective limits, will be adopted.

I believe that whenever the Judiciary of the United States shall cease to be the creature of the Slave Power, and the Judges shall receive their appointment from a Liberty President and Senate, slavery will be declared unconstitutional in the District, in Florida and in all the states created out of Territories.

I believe that slavery in the United States will not survive the accession of the Liberty party to power a single year.

I believe that the extinction of slavery by the constitutional action of Congress and the state legislatures is absolutely necessary to the preservation of the Union, to the security of popular rights, and to the restoration of harmony and prosperity to the country, and whenever effected will be incomparably more beneficical to the whole people than any conceivable modification of the tariff or banking system.

I believe that it is the duty of every elector to vote for the nominees of the Liberty party, provided they be honest and capable, and to vote for no other than Liberty men, so long as the Liberty party shall be distinguished by unswerving fidelity to Right and Justice and inflexible hostility to oppression and wrong.

I believe that it is never expedient to do wrong; and that in voting it is a good rule to vote right this once and the next time too.

I believe that if Liberty men will do their duty, being constant in season and out of season, and always faithful to their nominations, the antislavery strength of the country will be concentrated at the ballot box in less than four years, that a Liberty President and Congress will be elected in 1848, and that the census of 1850 will not include a single slave.

I believe that the work has to be done, and that it might as well be done in four years as in forty.

I believe that I will do my share of it. S.P.C.