ETERNAL AND SELF-EVIDENT TRUTHS”: JOHN BROWN’S PROVISIONAL CONSTITUTION AND ORDINANCES FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.
Preamble.—Whereas, Slavery, throughout its entire existence in the United States, is none other than the most barbarous, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of one portion of its citizens against another portion, the only conditions of which are perpetual imprisonment and hopeless servitude, or absolute extermination, in utter disregard and violation of those eternal and self-evident truths set forth in our
Therefore, We, the citizens of the United States, and the oppressed people, who, by a recent decision of the Supreme Court, are declared to have no rights which the white man is bound to respect, together with all the other people degraded by the laws thereof, do, for the time being, ordain and establish for ourselves the following Provisional Constitution and ordinances, the better to protect our people, property, lives and liberties, and to govern our actions.
Article I. Qualifications of Membership.—All persons of mature age, whether proscribed, oppressed and enslaved citizens, or of proscribed and oppressed races of the United States, who shall agree to sustain and enforce the Provisional Constitution and ordinances of organization, together with all minor children of such persons, shall be held to be fully entitled to protection under the same.
Excerpt From John Brown’s “Provisional Constitution And Ordinances For The People Of The United States,” Reprinted In History American Conspiracies A Record Of Treason, Insurrection, Rebellion, &C. In The United States Of America, From 1760 To 1860, By Orville J. Victor, New York: James D. Torrey, 1863, 573-574.