All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and inalienable rights, among which are the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, and that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property.The Supreme Court of that State, upon the first case arising which involved the question, decided that this provision had abolished Slavery. New Hampshire was, in like manner, held to have abolished Slavery by her Constitution, framed in 1783. Pennsylvania passed a Gradual Emancipation Act, March 1, 1780. All persons born in that State after that day, were to be free at the age of twenty-eight. Rhode Island provided by law that all persons born in that State after March, 1784, should be free. Connecticut, in 1784, passed an act providing for gradual Abolition. She had still two thousand seven hundred and fifty-nine slaves in 1790. New York provided for Gradual Emancipation in 1799. In 1817, a further act was passed, decreeing that there should be no Slavery in the State after the 4th of July, 1827. Ten thousand slaves were set free at once by this act. New Jersey passed an act, in 1804, designed to put an end to Slavery. It was so very gradual in its operation, that the census of 1840 reported six hundred and seventy-four slaves as still held in that State. The frequently reiterated Southern assertion that the Northern States “sold their slaves to the South, and then abolished Slavery,” is abundantly refuted. Pennsylvania, New York, and doubtless most other States, by their acts of emancipation, imposed severe penalties on the exportation of slaves. Delaware, though a Slave State, long since did. and still does, the same. The North emerged from the Missouri struggle chafed and mortified. It felt that, with Right and Power both on its side, it had been badly beaten, through the treachery of certain of its own representatives, whom it proceeded to deal with accordingly. Few, indeed — hardly one--of those Northern members who had sided with the South in that struggle were reflected. That lesson given, what more could be done? Missouri was in the Union, and could not be turned out. Arkansas was organized as a Slave Territory, and would in due time become a Slave State. What use in protracting an agitation which had no longer a definite object? Mr. Monroe had just been reflected President, and the harmony of the party would be disturbed by permitting
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.