Civil Rights Class Week 5

I am a Negro:
Black as the night is black,
Black like the depths of my Africa.
I’ve been a slave:
Caesar told me to keep his door-steps clean.
I brushed the boots of Washington.
I’ve been a worker:
Under my hand the pyramids arose.
I made mortar for the Woolworth Building.
I’ve been a singer:
All the way from Africa to Georgia
I carried my sorrow songs.
I made ragtime.
I’ve been a victim:
The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.
They lynch me still in Mississippi.
I am a Negro:
Black as the night is black,
Black like the depths of my Africa.

Langston Hughes – 1901-1967

More than 1,700 people who served in the U.S. Congress in the 18th, 19th and even 20th centuries owned human beings at some point in their lives, according to a Washington Post investigation of censuses and other historical records.

When Congress voted on the 1820 Missouri Compromise, which prohibited the expansion of slavery in the northern half of the country, the House and Senate contained a nearly equal number of slaveholders and non-slaveholders, a Post analysis found. Almost twice as many slaveholders, 44 percent, voted against the agreement, compared with 25 percent of non-slaveholders. The law was crafted by a slaveholder, Henry Clay, who is so renowned as one of America’s greatest statesmen that 16 counties across the country are named for him.

Historian Loren Schweninger,who spent years driving to more than 200 courthouses across the South to collect records on slavery, notes the importance of lawmakers’ personal stake in slavery as they passed laws codifying the practice. “They were protective of the institution, that’s for sure,” Schweninger said of state and federal lawmakers relationship with slavery. “There was brutality and there was all kinds of exploitation of slaves — but still there were laws.”

The same is true of the White House. Of the first 18 U.S. presidents, 12 were enslavers, including eight during their presidencies.

Public access to the Washington Post database:

“I’m a strong Black woman. I cannot be intimidated, I cannot be undermined. And I’d like to say to women everywhere, don’t allow these dishonorable people to intimidate you or scare you. Be who you are, do what you do, and let’s get on with discussing the real issues of this country… We know that when a woman stands up and speaks truth to power, there will be attempts to put her down. So I’m not going to be put down and I’m not going anywhere.”

Rep. Maxine Waters

Homework 1: Read the following two documents, which both involve a shift in Southern thinking in the years following Nat Turner’s Revolt.

Thomas Roderick Dew on Emancipation after Nat Turner (1832) Thomas R. Dew wrote this pamphlet in 1832, a few months after Nat Turner’s violent slave revolt. Dew was a prominent professor of political economy at the College of William and Mary. Here he described the unique legislative debate in the Virginia legislature in response to Nat Turner’s rebellion. As you read the account, determine what arguments Dew gave for or against emancipation. Why did he urge restraint for the legislature at this moment? Would his article and the debate that sparked it have been possible even a decade later? How were southern opinions of
slavery and race changing during these years?

Virginia Legislature talked about plans of partial or total abolition after Nat Turner’s Revolt. [It brought to many minds images of the bloody slave revolt in Haiti (1791–1804) and Gabriel’s foiled plans to burn Richmond (1800).] Turner was a “fanatical Negro preacher” and a slave. Dew, an ardent supporter of the institution, even opposing gradual emancipation because it would deprive the state of one-third of its wealth, wrote that revolt destroyed “for a time all feeling of security and confidence…” even though the “conspiracy embraced but few slaves, all of whom had paid the penalty of their crimes.” Dew’s arguments about emancipation were that “overwhelming numbers of the blacks” could “rise superior to all restraint”, and “involve the fairest portion of our land in universal ruin and desolation.” He believed that all free blacks, who were widely seen as a nefarious influence, should be sent to Africa (Colonization Society) and slavery had to end by either getting the nation to end slavery or getting the state to end slavery. He also believed that abolition or even talking about it so close to Nat Turner’s Revolt would give other slaves the idea that uprisings work. He also noted that n”o plan of abolition could act suddenly on the whole mass of slave population in the State.” Slaves would need to be freed a few at a time over time and should not even be discussed by the Legislature for at least a year. The Legislature needed to talk their constituents and to other slave-holding states “whose concurrence, if not absolutely necessary, might be highly desirable, and should have been sought after and attended to, at least as a matter of State courtesy.” Dew thought that the young and inexperienced members of the Legislature were not the correct people to decide about ending slavery. Dew’s article would have been ignored a decade later. Pro-slavery, anti-abolitionist opinion hardened in Virginia in the years that followed, buttressed by arguments previewed in the House.

Beginning in the 1830s, the South developed a new and aggressive sense of “nationalism” that was rooted in its sense of distinctiveness and its perception that it was ringed by enemies. The South began to conceive of itself more and more as the true custodian of America’s revolutionary heritage. Southern travelers who ventured into the North regarded it as a “strange and distant land” and expressed disgust about its vice-ridden cities and its grasping materialism. At the same time, southern intellectuals began to defend slavery as a positive factor. After 1830, white Southerners stopped referring to slavery as a necessary evil. Instead, they argued that it was a beneficial institution that created a hierarchical society superior to the leveling democracy of the North. By the late 1840s, a new and more explicitly racist rationale for slavery had emerged. With the emergence of militant abolitionism in the North, sharpened by slave uprisings in Jamaica and Southampton County, Virginia, the South began to see itself as surrounded by enemies. Southern leaders responded aggressively.

On the Senate floor in 1837, John C. Calhoun pronounced slavery “a good–a positive good” and set the tone for future southern proslavery arguments. Before the 1830s, southern statements on slavery had been defensive; afterward, they were defiant.

John C. Calhoun Sees “Slavery in its True Light…” (1838) In this excerpt from a speech given in 1838, South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun declared that slavery was not a moral evil, as some even in the South (including Thomas Jefferson) had once
maintained. He argued that slavery seen in its true light was a blessing to both races (but especially to African-Americans), a haven from the racial warfare that would otherwise break out, and the best and most stable foundation for free society. As you read Calhoun’s defense of slavery, consider how he believed that slavery, the ultimate denial of freedom, could be contribute to American freedom. What were the most important attributes of that freedom? What
alternative system existed in the North and how did it undermine freedom? How does Calhoun’s defense of slavery differ from those from the Revolutionary period?

John Caldwell Calhoun — March 18, 1782 – March 31, 1850) was an American statesman and political theorist from South Carolina who held many important positions including being the seventh vice president of the United States from 1825 to 1832, while adamantly defending slavery and protecting the interests of the white South. He was a leading proponent of states’ rights, limited government, nullification, and opposition to high tariffs. He saw Northern acceptance of those policies as a condition of the South remaining in the Union. His beliefs and warnings heavily influenced the South’s secession from the Union in 1860–1861. Calhoun had a difficult relationship with Jackson, primarily because of the Nullification Crisis and the Petticoat affair.

Calhoun became known as the “cast-iron man” for his rigid defense of white Southern beliefs and practices. His concept of republicanism emphasized approval of slavery and minority states’ rights as particularly embodied by the South. He owned dozens of slaves in Fort Hill, South Carolina. Calhoun asserted that slavery, rather than being a “necessary evil”, was a “positive good” that benefited both slaves and owners.

To Calhoun, slavery was a great benefit for an inferior race that had no ability to exercise their freedom positively.

Calhoun argued: “Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually… It came to us in a low, degraded, and savage condition, and in the course of a few generations it has grown up under the fostering care of our institutions.”

In an attempt to disarm the abolitionists’ moral outrage over slavery as “man-stealing,” ignoring the anti-slavery tradition of the Founders, Calhoun, like many proslavery Southerners, pointed to the ancient world to help them defend the institution of slavery, especially Aristotle’s theory of natural slavery. Greek democracy along with the grandeur of the Roman republic provided Southerners with a perspective that great cultures and slavery were inseparable.

Attempting to claim the moral mantle for the social defense of involuntary servitude, Calhoun declared:

“But I take higher ground. I hold that, in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by colour, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding states between the two is, instead of an evil, a good — a positive good. I feel myself called upon to speak freely upon the subject, where the honour and interests of those I represent are involved.” [John C. Calhoun, [1], “XIV SPEECH ON THE RECEPTION OF ABOLITION PETITIONS, FEBRUARY, 1837; Speeches of John C. Calhoun:Delivered in the Congress of the United States from 1811 to the present time”; Harper & Brothers, New York, 1843, p225]

In that 1837 speech, Calhoun further argued that the slaveholders took care of their slaves from birth to old age, urging the opponents of slavery to “look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poor house” found in Europe and the Northern states. [John C. Calhoun, “Slavery [ Archived October 6, 2019, at the Wayback Machine a Positive Good” speech], February 6, 1837]

Such an assertion was predicated on the virtues of benevolent paternalism, the glory of past civilizations, and the traditions of white supremacy. [Ethan S. Rafuse, “John C. Calhoun: The Man Who Started the Civil War,” Civil War Times, October 2002 Archived March 6, 2020, at the Wayback Machine] In an effort to illustrate that the North was also guilty of treating and exploiting its free laborers like slaves, Calhoun declared in his speech “that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilised society in which one portion of the community did not…live on the labour of the other.” Most Southern slaveholders and intellectuals favored Calhoun’s ideas and maintained that the institution of slavery “benefited both master and servant.” In that arrangement, the slaveholder acquired his labor and the slave was given a standard of living far beyond what he could ever hope to achieve on his own.

While Calhoun sought to defend slavery as a positive good, he expanded his argument to condemn the North and industrial capitalism, asserting that slavery was “actually superior to the ‘wage slavery’ of the North.” He believed that free laborers in the North were just as enslaved as the Negro workers in the South. However, in the case of slaves in the South, Calhoun argued that Negros were receiving special protection under a caring and paternalistic master, and therefore were more fortunate.

In his manifesto, A Disquisition on Government, Calhoun opposed equality upon birth assertion that the Founders declared in the Declaration of Independence, arguing that not all people are “equally entitled to liberty.” To bolster the prospects of slavery, he asserted that liberty was not a universal right but should be “reserved for the intelligent, the patriotic, the virtuous and deserving,” which would exclude both free and enslaved Negros. Moreover, in 1820, Calhoun explained to John Quincy Adams that slave labor was the mechanics by which to maintain social control, calling it the “best guarantee for equality among whites.”

American Colonization Society

The American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in 1817 to send free African-Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia. By 1867, the society had sent more than 13,000 emigrants.

Beginning in the 1830s, the society was harshly attacked by abolitionists, who tried to discredit colonization as a slaveholder’s scheme. And, after the Civil War, when many blacks wanted to go to Liberia, financial support for colonization had waned. During its later years the society focused on educational and missionary efforts in Liberia rather than emigration.

In 1913 and at its dissolution in 1964, the society donated its records to the Library of Congress. The material contains a wealth of information about the foundation of the society, its role in establishing Liberia, efforts to manage and defend the colony, fund-raising, recruitment of settlers, and the way in which black settlers built and led the new nation.


In the 1840s, a growing number of southern ministers, journalists, and politicians began to denounce the North’s form of capitalism as “wage slavery.” The condition of free labor, they argued, was actually “worse than slavery,” because slaveholders, unlike greedy northern employers, provide for their employees “when most needed, when sickness or old age has overtaken [them].” Northern workers, they declared, were simply “slaves without masters.” During the 1840s, more and more Southerners defended slavery on explicitly racial grounds. In doing so, they drew on new pseudoscientific theories of racial inferiority. Some of these theories came from Europe, which was seeking justification of imperial expansion over nonwhite peoples in Africa and Asia. Other racist ideas were drawn from northern scientists, who employed an elaborate theory of “polygenesis,” which claimed that Africans and whites were separate species. Seeking to free their region from cultural, economic, and religious dependence on the North, southern “nationalists” sought to promote southern economic self-sufficiency, to create southern-oriented educational and religious institutions, and to develop a distinctive southern literature. Beginning in 1837, southern leaders held the first of a series of commercial conventions in an attempt to diversify the southern economy and to rescue the South from northern “pecuniary and commercial supremacy.”

Efforts to develop the southern economy were surprisingly successful. Southern railroad mileage quadrupled between 1850 and 1860–although southern track mileage still trailed that of the free states by 14,000. By 1860 Richmond manufactured more tobacco than any other America city and exported more goods to South America than any other American port, including New York. Other southern nationalists strove to create southern-oriented educational institutions to protect the young from, in Jefferson’s words, “imbibing opinions and principles in discord” with those of the South. Schoolbooks, declared one southern magazine, “have slurs and innuendoes at slavery; the geographies are more particular in stating the resources of the Northern States; the histories almost ignore the South; the arithmetics contain in their examples reflections upon the Southern states.” The struggle for independent southern colleges achieved considerable success. By 1860 Virginia had 23 colleges and Georgia had 32, while New York had 17 colleges and Massachusetts just 8. In 1856 the University of Virginia had 558 students, compared to only 361 at Harvard.

Regional independence was also called for in religion. Due in large part to fear of antislavery agitation, southern Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians sought to sever their denominational affiliations with northern churches. In the early 2000s, only the Baptists remain divided. Southerners also called for a distinctive and peculiarly southern literature. More than 30 periodicals were founded with the word “Southern” in their title, all intended to “breathe a Southern spirit, and sustain a strictly Southern character.” Authors such as Nathaniel Beverly Tucker and William Gilmore Simms called on the South to write on southern themes and to overcome the taunts of “Englishmen and Northernmen” that they were intellectually inferior.

By the early 1850s, a growing number of aggressive Southerners had moved beyond earlier calls for separate southern factories, colleges, and churches. Militant nationalists called for the reopening of the slave trade and aggressive annexations of new slave territory in Latin America and the Caribbean. In a bid to acquire new lands for slavery a filibustering expedition was launched from New Orleans in 1851 to secure Cuba for the South. After this failed, extreme southern nationalists supported the efforts of William Walker, “the gray-eyed man of destiny,” to extend slave labor into Latin America. In 1853, with considerable southern support, Walker raised a private army and unsuccessfully invaded Mexico. Two years later, he launched the first of three invasions of Nicaragua. On his final foray in 1860, he was taken prisoner by a British officer, handed over to Honduran authorities, and, at the age of 36, executed by a firing squad. In the late 1850s, another group of ardent southern expansionists, the Knights of the Golden Circle, developed plans to create an independent slave empire stretching from Maryland and Texas to northern South America and the West Indies. The only practical effect of these schemes was to arouse northern opinion against an aggressive southern slaveocracy.

1732 map of Sierra Leone and coast of Guinea

A Brief History of Liberia

Lucy asked “What happened in Liberia when the African American’s arrived?” Liberia was founded in 1822 as an outpost for returning freed slaves from the Americas. It grew into a colony and eventually became a commonwealth, and achieved independence in 1847 with the help of the American Colonization Society (a private organization based in the United States). After a bloody overthrow of the Americo-Liberian régime by indigenous Liberians in 1980, a ‘Redemption Council’ took control of Liberia. Internal unrest, opposition to the new military regime, and governmental repression steadily grew, until in 1989 Liberia sank into outright tribal and civil war.

1831 woodcut entitled Horrid Massacre in Virginia. unknown (from the book, Authentic and Impartial Narrative of the Tragical Scene Which Was Witnessed in Southampton County)

Nat Turner’s Rebellion, also known as the Southampton Insurrection, was a rebellion of enslaved Virginians that took place in Southampton County, Virginia, in August 1831, led by Nat Turner. A deeply religious person, Nat Turner believed that he had been called by God to lead African Americans out of slavery. The rebels killed between 55 and 65 people, at least 51 of whom were White. The rebellion was effectively suppressed within a few days, at Belmont Plantation on the morning of August 23, but Turner survived in hiding for more than two months afterwards.

There was widespread fear in the aftermath, and militias organized in retaliation to the rebels. Approximately 120 enslaved people and free African Americans were killed by militias and mobs in the area. The Commonwealth of Virginia later executed an additional 56 enslaved people accused of being part of the rebellion, including Turner himself; many Black people who had not participated were also persecuted in the frenzy. Because Turner had been educated and literate as well as a popular preacher, state legislatures subsequently passed new laws prohibiting education of enslaved people and free Black people, restricting rights of assembly and other civil liberties for free Black people, and requiring White ministers to be present at all worship services.

After the Nat Turner revolt White Southerners responded brutally to the rebellion. They executed 55 enslaved people for participating in or supporting the revolt, including Turner, and other angry white people killed over 200 African-Americans in the days after the rebellion. Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831 frightened Southerners because it challenged the idea that enslavement was a benevolent institution. In speeches and writings, enslavers portrayed themselves not so much as ruthless businessmen exploiting a people for their labor but as kind and well-intentioned enslavers tutoring Black people in civilization and religion. A pervasive White Southern fear of rebellion, however, belied their own arguments that enslaved people were, in fact, happy. Uprisings like the one Turner staged in Virginia left no doubt that enslaved people wanted their freedom. [Vox, Lisa. “Why Nat Turner’s Rebellion Made White Southerners Fearful.” ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021,]

Paul Cuffee (January 17, 1759 – September 7, 1817) was an American businessman, whaler and abolitionist. Born free into a multiracial family on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, Cuffe became a successful merchant and sea captain. His mother, Ruth Moses, was a Wampanoag from Harwich, Cape Cod and his father an Ashanti captured as a child in West Africa and sold into slavery in Newport about 1720. In the mid-1740s, his father was manumitted by his Quaker owner, John Slocum. His parents married in 1747 in Dartmouth. Cuffe became involved in the British effort to found a colony in Sierra Leone, to which the British had transported more than 1,000 former slaves originally from America. Some had been enslaved by American Patriots and had sought refuge and freedom behind British lines during the war. After the British were defeated, they took those former slaves first to Nova Scotia and London.

Prodded by Black Loyalists such as Thomas Peters, who had agitated for a return to Africa, the British in 1792 offered the Nova Scotia blacks a chance to set up a colony of their own in Sierra Leone, where they resettled. At the urging of leading British abolitionists, in 1810 Cuffe sailed to Sierra Leone to learn about conditions for the settlers and whether he could help them. He concluded that efforts should be made to increase the local production of exportable commodities and develop their own shipping capabilities rather than continuing to export freed slaves. Cuffe sailed to England to meet with members of The African Institution, who were also leading abolitionists. He offered his recommendations to improve the lives of all the people in Sierra Leone. His recommendations were well received in London and he subsequently made two more trips to Sierra Leone to try to implement them.

On his last trip in 1815–16, he transported nine families of free blacks from Massachusetts to Sierra Leone to assist and work with the former slaves and other local residents to develop their economy. Some historians relate Cuffe’s work to the “Back to Africa” movement being promoted by the newly organized American Colonization Society (ACS). A group made up of both Northerners and Southerners, it was focused on resettling free blacks from the United States to Africa – eventually resulting in development of Liberia. The leaders of the ACS had sought Paul Cuffe’s advice and support for their effort. After some hesitation, and given the strong objections by free blacks in Philadelphia and New York City to the ACS proposal, Cuffe chose not to support the ACS. He believed his efforts in providing training, machinery and ships to the people of Africa would enable them to improve their lives and rise in the world.

A Black Patriot was an African American who sided with the colonists who opposed British rule during the American Revolutionary War. The term Black Patriots includes, but is not limited to, the 5000 or more African Americans who fought in the Continental Army during the war.

Famed African American, Harvard scholar and professor Henry Louis Gates is descended from John Redman, a Free Black Man who served in the Continental Army.

This was in contrast to Black Loyalists, African Americans who sided with the British forces. Many families escaped indentured servitude to take up the British offer of freedom for service, making their way to British lines and territory for safety.

Timeline for African American Civil Rights

Illustration depicting combat between French and Haitian troops during the Haitian Revolution. From Histoire de Napoléon, by M. De Norvins, 1839

Haitian Revolution – A series of conflicts between 1791 and 1804 between Haitian slaves, colonists, the armies of the British and French colonizers, and a number of other parties. Through the struggle, the Haitian people ultimately won independence from France and thereby became the first country to be founded by former slaves.

A portrait of Toussaint Louverture Oil on Canvas, 65.1 x 54.3 cm. (25.6 x 21.4 in.) Painted by Alexandre-François-Louis, comte de Girardin. Signed and dated ‘Girardin a Nantes an ’13’. (L’an XIII du calendrier républicain, correspond aux années 1804 et 1805 du calendrier grégorien.)

François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture ~ also known as Toussaint L’Ouverture or Toussaint Bréda; 20 May 1743 – 7 April 1803) was a Haitian general and the most prominent leader of the Haitian Revolution. During his life, Louverture first fought against the French, then for them, and then finally against France again for the cause of Haitian independence. As a revolutionary leader, Louverture displayed military and political acumen that helped transform the fledgling slave rebellion into a revolutionary movement. Louverture is now known as the “Father of Haiti”. Louverture was born enslaved on the French colony of Saint-Domingue, now known as Haiti. Soon after the revolution started in 1791 to this day, but particularly after 1804, the slave-owning world despised Haiti and its radical black leaders. News of what were considered terrifying events of the revolution took on vile racialized tones and created a discourse that inevitably placed Haiti on the wrong side of white history.

Works Cited:

Breen, Patrick H. (2015). The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt. Oxford University Press. pp. 98, 231. ISBN 978-0199828005.

Breen 2015, Chapter 9 and Allmendinger 2014, Appendix F are recent studies which review various estimates for the number of enslaved and free Black people killed without trial, giving a range of from 23 killed to over 200 killed; Breen notes on page 231 that “high estimates have been widely accepted in both academic and popular sources”.

Frederic D. Schwarz Archived December 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine “1831: Nat Turner’s Rebellion,” American Heritage, August/September 2006.

“Nat Turner – Black History”. Retrieved February 26, 2018.

Wiggins, Rosalind Cobb ed. Captain Paul Cuffe’s Logs and Letters. Washington: Howard University Press, 1996. p.xi

Abigail Mott, Biographical sketches and interesting anecdotes of persons of color (printed and sold by W. Alexander & Son; sold also by Harvey and Darton, W. Phillips, E. Fry, and W. Darton, London; R. Peart, Birmingham; D. F. Gardiner, Dublin, 1826), pp. 31–43 (accessed on Google Books).

Thomas, Lamont D. Paul Cuffe: Black Entrepreneur and Pan-Africanist (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988).

Selig, Robert A. “The Revolution’s Black Soldiers”. Retrieved 2007-10-18.

Class notes 2/23/2022:

Trove -a store of valuable or delightful things. discovery, find. a valuable collection

Colonization Society – there is no place in the United States for free blacks

Suppliant-a person making a humble plea to someone in power or authority.

Nullification – in United States constitutional history, is a legal theory that a state has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal laws which that state has deemed unconstitutional with respect to the United States Constitution (as opposed to the state’s own constitution). The theory of nullification has never been legally upheld by federal courts. The theory of nullification is based on a view that the states formed the Union by an agreement (or “compact”) among the states, and that as creators of the federal government, the states have the final authority to determine the limits of the power of that government. Under this, the compact theory, the states and not the federal courts are the ultimate interpreters of the extent of the federal government’s power. Under this theory, the states therefore may reject, or nullify, federal laws that the states believe are beyond the federal government’s constitutional powers. The related idea of interposition is a theory that a state has the right and the duty to “interpose” itself when the federal government enacts laws that the state believes to be unconstitutional. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison set forth the theories of nullification and interposition in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798.

States’ rights — political powers held for the state governments rather than the federal government according to the United States Constitution, reflecting especially the enumerated powers of Congress and the Tenth Amendment. The enumerated powers that are listed in the Constitution include exclusive federal powers, as well as concurrent powers that are shared with the states, and all of those powers are contrasted with the reserved powers—also called states’ rights—that only the states possess. [Bardes, Barbara et al. American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials (Cengage Learning, 2008).]

Necessary evil — an evil that someone believes must be done or accepted because it is necessary to achieve a better outcome—especially because possible alternative courses of action or inaction are expected to be worse. It is the “lesser evil” in the lesser of two evils principle, which maintains that given two bad choices, the one that is least bad is the better choice.

Slavery as a positive good — the prevailing view of white Southern U.S. politicians and intellectuals just before the American Civil War, as opposed to seeing it as a crime against humanity or even a necessary evil. They defended the legal enslavement of people for their labor as a benevolent, paternalistic institution with social and economic benefits, an important bulwark of civilization, and a divine institution similar or superior to the free labor in the North. This stance arose in response to the growing anti-slavery movement in the United States in the late 18th century and early 19th century. During the Revolutionary War era, slavery became a significant social issue in North America. At this time, the anti-slavery contention that slavery was both economically inefficient and socially detrimental to the country as a whole was more prevalent than philosophical and moral arguments against slavery. However this perspective rapidly changed as the worldwide demand for sugar and cotton from America increased and the Louisiana Purchase opened up vast new territories ideally suited for a plantation economy. Americans who lived through the American Revolution understood that this was a violent world and that slaves were held in place only by white military power.

Nat Turners’ Revolt put much fear into white people because he was considered a “good” and “loyal” slave. If he could plan and pull off a revolt, any slave could.

Gag rule: 24th Congress (1835–1837), the U.S. House of Representatives instituted the “gag rule,” the first instance of what would become a traditional practice forbidding the House from considering anti-slavery petitions. In May of 1836 the House passed a resolution that automatically “tabled,” or postponed action on all petitions relating to slavery without hearing them prevent the discussion of slavery and to ignore the thousands of petitions that were pouring into Washington to abolish slavery on the grounds that Congress had no right to interfere with slavery. In response, Representative John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts submitted this motion declaring the gag rule unconstitutional.. Stricter versions of this gag rule passed in succeeding Congresses. Despite his efforts, the House successfully reintroduced the gag rule each Congress until John Adams finally mustered enough votes to repeal it on December 3, 1844. He argued that they were a direct violation of the First Amendment right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. [The “Gag Rule” was an act of Congress that was passed in 1836 in response to the overwhelming amount of petitions and letters that were being sent to Congress that demanded the abolishment of slavery. Southern Pro-Slavery congressmen and some Northern Congressmen teamed together and had the resolution passed.]

Gag Order — a rule saying that people are not allowed to speak freely or express their opinions about a particular subject

Elijah Parish LovejoyOn November 7, 1837, Elijah Parish Lovejoy was killed by a pro-slavery mob while defending the site of his anti-slavery newspaper, The Saint Louis Observer. His death deeply affected many Northerners and greatly strengthened the abolitionist (anti-slavery) cause. Supported by abolitionist friends such as Edward Beecher (the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), he wrote anti-slavery editorials. Lovejoy called for immediate universal emancipation (complete freedom from slavery). While national circulation of the paper increased, locals who supported slavery became angry. Mob violence increased over the slavery issue, several times destroying Lovejoy’s presses. Throughout the North and West, more people joined anti-slavery societies following Lovejoy’s death. Officials in Illinois said almost nothing about the incident, with the exception of a young state representative named Abraham Lincoln, who spoke out against the crime.

Antislavery people where a fringe group and were considered nut cases. Black and white abolitionists in the first half of the nineteenth century waged a biracial assault against slavery. Their efforts proved to be extremely effective. Abolitionists focused attention on slavery and made it difficult to ignore. They heightened the rift that had threatened to destroy the unity of the nation even as early as the Constitutional Convention. Although some Quakers were slaveholders, members of that religious group were among the earliest to protest the African slave trade, the perpetual bondage of its captives, and the practice of separating enslaved family members by sale to different masters. As the nineteenth century progressed, many abolitionists united to form numerous antislavery societies. These groups sent petitions with thousands of signatures to Congress, held abolition meetings and conferences, boycotted products made with slave labor, printed mountains of literature, and gave innumerable speeches for their cause. Individual abolitionists sometimes advocated violent means for bringing slavery to an end. Although black and white abolitionists often worked together, by the 1840s they differed in philosophy and method. While many white abolitionists focused only on slavery, black Americans tended to couple anti-slavery activities with demands for racial equality and justice.

Colleges in the colonies were started to train ministers of the religions owned by the colony. First college in the colony was Harvard (MASS) which was started to produce Puritan ministers. Willian & Mary (Virginia) was started to train Anglican ministers.

Puritanism Vs Anglicanism — They are both renditions of Catholicism and Protestantism; Anglicanism is a spin-off of Protestant Catholicism, and Puritanism is a spin-off of Anglicanism. Both are belief systems that are branches of Catholicism, which is a branch of Christianity. Some Protestants thought that the Anglican Church was still too much like the Catholic church. These people became known as Puritans. Some of the things Puritans complained about included: ministers wearing surplices (loose, white garments); people kneeling while taking Communion; ornaments, paintings and stained glass windows in churches; the playing of organ music during services and the celebrations of saints’ days.

Postmasters in the south burned antislavery mailers.

Lucy (classmate) — “What would freeing the slaves mean to democracy in the 1830s?” No one had an answer.

Black AbolitionistsThe abolition of slavery was the cause of free African-Americans.

After the Nat Turner Revolt state legislatures passed new laws prohibiting education of enslaved people and free Black people, restricting rights of assembly and other civil liberties for free Black people, and requiring White ministers to be present at all worship services. The fear caused by Nat Turner’s insurrection and the concerns raised in the emancipation debates that followed resulted in politicians and writers responding by defining slavery as a “positive good“. Such authors included Thomas Roderick Dew. Other Southern writers began to promote a paternalistic ideal of improved Christian treatment of slaves, in part to avoid such rebellions. Dew and others believed that they were civilizing Black people (who by this stage were mostly American-born) through slavery. The writings were collected in The pro-slavery argument, as maintained by the most distinguished writers of the southern states (1853).

Natural Law — (Latin: ius naturale, lex naturalis) is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature, and based on values intrinsic to human nature that can be deduced and applied independent of positive law (the enacted laws of a state or society). According to natural law theory, all people have inherent rights, conferred not by act of legislation but by “God, nature, or reason.”

“Mysterious Providence” — part of god’s plan; “Every plantation is a little community.” – Calhoun. He is buried in Charleston. Dr. Bagley would like to find his grave and dance on it. (I’d happily join him!)

sic — used in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the original, as in a story must hold a child’s interest and “enrich his [ sic ] life.”.

Rationalization — the action of attempting to explain or justify behavior or an attitude with logical reasons, even if these are not appropriate.

Workers = wage slaves

“wage slaves” — a term used to describe a situation where a person’s entire livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the wages are low, conditions are poor, and the person has little to no realistic chances of upward mobility

Lincoln thought that sending blacks out of the country (Africa) would keep the north and south united.

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