King was also a lawyer and renowned politician and diplomat. He was assigned to the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention as the only delegate from Massachusetts. He was also minister to Great Britain and a Federalist candidate for president in 1816.
Always a staunch anti-slavery activist, in 1817 King voted to end the domestic slave trade and demanded that an anti-slavery clause be added to Missouri’s application for statehood or be denied.
With slaveholders on the Senate floor, Senator King, the last of the delegates to the 1787 gathering still holding public office, minced no words when he said:
“Mr. President, I have yet to learn that one man can make a slave of another. If one man cannot do so, no number of individuals can have any better right to do it. And I hold that all laws or compacts imposing any such condition upon any human being are absolutely void, because contrary to the law of nature, which is the law of God, by which he makes his ways known to man, and is paramount to all human control.”
As you know, the importance of his commitments and his contributions to this country were so profound that he was one that set the tone for the reason why we are Americans: freedom for all.
Why is there not a statue of this great man in King Park? I think he is worthy!
Gerald J. Caliendo is chairman of King Manor Museum in Jamaica.