By William Lee Miller
A blow-by-blow new version of the conflict royal that raged in Congress within the 1830s, while a small band of representatives, led through President John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, hired complex stratagems to outwit the Southern (and Southern-sympathizing) sponsors of the successive "gag" principles that had lengthy blocked debate almost about slavery.
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Extra info for Arguing about Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress
But the District? The District of Columbia had not even existed when the Constitution was written. It was the federal city, the city of all the states and all the citizens, of Massachusetts and Maine as much as of South Carolina and Georgia. " Why would the framers have used that sweeping phrase "in all cases whatsoever" unless they meant it? Hammond and Calhoun and the most overheated Southerners had an uphill case with that one, and their sup port dropped off. Almost nobody in Congress proposed actually to do anything about slavery in the District, despite all the petitions; but to deny ARG U I N G A B O UT S LAVE RY that Congress had the constitutional power to touch slavery in the District if it should choose to-that went too far.
It may be no serious matter to such Northern folk . . [Garland] : . . to contemplate our plains drenched with blood, in a servile war; they are absent and secure; but to us, who are husbands and fathers, who must be in the midst of it, it is with no slight concern, no ordinary emotion, that we can contemplate, or could see the blood reeking from the bosoms of our wives and children, pouring from wounds inflicted through the instigation of these disturbers of our peace, and enemies of our lives and liberties.
To Hammond and Benjamin Howard of Maryland, their fanaticism had a geography: they were "fanatics of the North. " On a couple of the most interesting occasions of that turbulent winter session, a speaker would explicitly discard the now well-worn word and by discarding it, and substituting a stronger word or phrase, try to recap ture the original intensity. Thus Waddy Thompson, after putting to him- Immediate Representatives 37 self, rhetorically, the notion that certain Northern opinions ought to be conciliated, responded to his own question in this way: [Thompson] : Who is it in the North that we are to conciliate?
Arguing about Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress by William Lee Miller