Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech on the Admission of Kansas, Under the Lecompton Constitution, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 4, 1858 >> Page 305

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 305
the regular forms of law and constitutions to seek for
the will of the people you are wandering in a wilder-
ness--,a wilderness of thorns.
If this was a minority constitution I do not know
that that would be an objection to it. Constitutions
are made for minorities. Perhaps minorities ought. to
have the right to make constitutions, for they are ad-
ministered by majorities. The Constitution of this
Government was made by a minority, and as late as
1840 a minority had it in their hands, and could have
altered or abolished it ; for, in 1840, six out of the
twenty-six States of the Union held the numerical
The Senator from Illinois has, upon his view of the
Lecompton Constitution and the present situation of
affairs in Kansas, liaised a cry of " popular sovereignty."
The Senator from New York (Mr. Seward) yesterday
made himself facetious about it, and called it, " squatter
sovereignty." There is a popular sovereignty which
is the basis of our Government, and I am unwilling
that the Senator should have the advantage of con-
founding it with " squatter sovereignty." In all coun-
tries and in all time, it is well understood that the
numerical majority of the people could, if they chose,
exercise the sovereignty of the country ; but for want
of intelligence, and for want of leaders, they have
never yet been able successfully to combine and form
a stable, popular government. They have often
attempted it, but it has always turned out, instead of
a popular sovereignty, a populace sovereignty ; and
demagogues, placing themselves upon the movement,
have invariably led them into military despotism.
I think that the popular sovereignty which the