|In the light of the following documents and your knowledge of the period 1775 to 1825, show specifically how the issue of slavery brought out the differences in the arguments concerning states rights and federalism.|
| Nothing is
more certainly written in the book of fate than these people are to be free; nor is it
less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature,
habit, opinion have drawn indelible lines of distinction between them. It is still in our
power to direct the process of emancipation and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow
degree that the evil will wear off insensibly, and their place be, pari passu, filled up
by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself on, human nature
must shudder at the prospect held up.
Thomas Jefferson 1804
Be it enacted, That from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, it shall not be lawful to import or bring into the United States or the territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, as a slave, or to be held to service or labour.
If any citizen or citizens of the United States, or any person resident within the jurisdiction of the same, shall, from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, take on board, receive or transport from any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa, or from any other foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour in any ship or vessel, for the purpose of selling them in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States as slaves, or to be held to service or labour,or shall be in any ways aiding or abetting therein, such citizen or citizens, or person, shall severally forfeit and pay five thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the use of any person or persons who shall sue for and prosecute the same to effect .
Act To Prohibit The Importation of Slaves
Resolved, That the formation of the abolition societies, and the acts and doings of
certain fanatics calling themselves abolitionists, in the non-slaveholding states of this
confederacy, are in direct violation of the obligations of the compact of the union,
dissocial, and incendiary in the extreme.
2. Resolved, Resolved, That no state having a just regard for her own peace and secruity can acquiesce in a state of things by which such conspiracies are endangered within the limits of a friendly state, united to her by the bonds of a common league of political association, without either surrendering or compromising her most essential rights....
4. Resolved, That, regarding the domestic slavery of the southern states as a subject exclusively within the control of each of the said states, we shall consider every interference, by any other state of the general government, as a direct and unlawful interference, to be resisted at once, and under every possible circumstance.
South Carolina Resolutions on Abolitionists Propaganda
whatever sentiments have formerly prevailed in this particular or slid in upon us by
example of others, a different idea has taken place with the people of America, more
favorable to the natural rights of mankind, and to this natural, innate desire of Liberty,
which with Heaven ( without regard to color, complextion or shape of noses-features) has
inspired all the human race. And upon this ground our Constitution of Government, by which
the people of this Commonwealth have solemnly bound themselves, sets out with declaring
that all men are born free and equal-and that every subject is entitled to liberty, and to
have it guarded by the laws, as well as life and property-and in short is totally
repugnant to the idea of being born slaves. This being the case, I think the idea of
slavery is inconsistent with our own conduct and Conststuion; and there can be no such
thing as perpetual servitude of a rational creature unless his liberty is forfeited or
given up by personal consent or contract
The Quock Walker Case - Massachusetts, 1783
memorial of Thomas Cole, bricklayer,P.B.Mathews and Mathew Webbe, butchers, on behalf of
themselves and others, free men of color, humbly shows:
That in the enumeration of free citizens by the Constitution of the United States for the purpose of representation of the Southern states in Congress your memorialists have been considered under that description as part of the citizens of this state .
That as your memorialists have been and are considered as free citizens of this state, they hope to be treated as such; they are ready and willing to take and subscribe to such oath of alegiance to the states as shall be prescribed by them any duty for the preservation of the peace in the city or any other occasion if called on ..
Commission of South Carolina,
....The Revolution could not have opened avenues toward general emancipation
unless the slaves themselves had become involved as a significant military force.
Historians have too often underestimated the economic strength of slavery during the
Revolution period, exaggerated the force of antislavery sentiment in the Upper South, and
minimized the obstacles that abolitionists faced even in the northern states. The American
colonists were fighting, after all, for self-determination .... And it is now clear that
slavery was of central importance to both the southern and national economies, and thus to
the viability of the 'American System'...
A free society was by no means incompatible with dependent classes of workers. Its central prerequisite was a large class of freeholders, unencumbered by feudal, military, or political obligations. Liberty required independence, and independence required freehold property any scheme of emancipation ran the risk of undermining property, of increasing the powers of government, and thus of endangering the very foundations of liberty.
| Sir, suffer
me to recall to your mind that time, in which the arms and tyranny of the British crown
were exerted, with every powerful effort, in order to reduce you to a state of
This, Sir, was a time when you clearly saw into the injustice of a State of slavery, and in which you had just apprehensions of the horror of its condition. It was now that your abhorrence thereof was so excited, that you publicly held forth this true and invaluable doctrine, which is worthy to be recorded and remembered in all succeeding ages: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..'
Here was a time, in which your tender feelings for yourselves had engaged you thus to declare, you were then impressed with the proper ideas of the great violation of liberty, and the free possession of those blessings, to which you were entitled by nature; but, Sir, how pitiable is it to reflect, that although you were so fully convinced oe the benevolence of the Father of Mankind, and of his equal and impartial distribution of these rights and privileges, which he hath conferred upon them, that you should at the same time counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity, and cruel oppression, that you should at the same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves .
Letter of Benjamin Banneker (free African American) to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia,1792
| In the
slave States the alternative is, that white men must govern the black, or the black the
white. In several of these states the number of slaves is greater than that of the white
population. An immediate abolition of slavery in them, as these ultra-abolitionists
propose, would be followed by a desperate struggle for immediate ascendancy of the black
race over the white race, or rather it would be followed by instantaneous collisions
between the two races, which would break out into a civil war that would end in the
extermination or subjugation of the one race or the other.
Henry Clay 1820