I've been reading some inaugural addresses from the antebellum period for a paper I'm moving heaven and earth to finish up this week. And so admist all the comparisons of Obama's inaugural address to Lincoln's second inaugural and others, I think you might enjoy a comparison with one antebellum inaugural address. In this address the new President spoke of fine issues of Constitutional and contract interpretation. And at one point he spoke about the Constitution's Fugitive Slave Clause:
There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:
No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.
It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution—to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause "shall be delivered up" their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not with nearly equal unanimity frame and pass a law by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath?
There were, of course, other more prosaic parts of that address. Something about "mystic chords of memory...." That address was Lincoln's first inaugural.