Race and Rights
Fighting Slavery and Prejudice in the Old Northwest,1830–1870
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Northern Illinois University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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This book is all the richer thanks to the support and help of scores of won-derful people. The research for this project began when I worked with an inspiring cohort of supportive faculty as a graduate student at North-western University. From the outset, Stephanie McCurry has shared her formidable intellect and excellent advice. Susan Pearson was instrumen-...
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When I drew up the Ordinance, I had no idea the states would agree to the From the moment the Continental Congress created the Northwest Ter-ritory in 1787, the region was at the front lines of debate over the mean-ing of race and rights in the new nation. After over a year of squabbling between northern and southern delegates in the Congress, Nathan Dane ...
1 / Activist Taproots: Place, Reform, and the Quest for Unity
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Antislavery and anti-prejudice activists believed they must mold the Old Northwest according to their ideals of a virtuous community. This was an immensely dif_f_icult mission. When he toured the region in 1841, antislavery lecturer Dr. Erasmus Hudson faced down abundant chal-lenges. These included numerous anti-abolitionists who tried to silence ...
2 / Scrubbing at the “Bloody Stain of Oppression”:A Human Rights Movement against Unjust Laws, 1830–1849
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In February 1843, the New Garden, Indiana, Free Labor Advocate and Anti-Slavery Chronicle announced the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling that the Ohio Constitution permitted men who of_f_icials could identify as “nearer white than mulattoes” to vote. While white abolitionist editor Benjamin Stanton recognized the revised interpretation as progress, he ...
3 / “Stand Firm on the Platform of Truth”: Freedom of Assembly and Local Antislavery Organizations in the Old Northwest
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As a state we influence the west, the west influences our nation, and our In 1843, the McLean County Anti-Slavery Society struggled to meet in Bloomington, Illinois. As elsewhere in the Old Northwest, activists there found that securing freedom of assembly was arduous, and involved substantial risk of violence. The Reverend Levi Spencer’s 1840s experi-...
4 / “The Palladium of Our Liberties”: Freedom of the Press in the Old Northwest, 1837–1848
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I have long regarded the conductors of the public press, as a class of persons who have assumed upon themselves a fearful responsibility . . . their influ-ence is powerfully seen and felt, for weal or for woe to the human family.—arnold bu.scf.scf.scu.scm.sc in the protectionist, j.scanu.scary 1, 1841In the antebellum era, the newspaper was a central tool for transforming ...
5 / “An Odd Place for Navigation”: Itinerant Lecturers and Freedom of Speech,1830–1849
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John O. Wattles of Ohio toured Indiana in September 1842, crossing the north-central portion of the state, seeking out compatriots, attending and holding meetings, and observing the local progress of the antislav-ery campaign. In Grant County, he found and worked with steadfast new allies, “firm friends of humanity.” He eloquently praised the local ...
6 / Itinerant Lecturers in a Fracturing Nation, 1850–1861
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When we in the dark take what we deem a right position, light is sure to —ichabod codding, letter to m.scaria codding, m.scarch 11, 1855In March 1861, Josephine S. Grif_f_ing ridiculed small-town Old Northwest people by detailing how controversy ensued when she spoke publicly in the region. In a letter to the Liberator, Grif_f_ing delicately poked fun at ...
7 / The Potential for Radical Change: The Turbulent 1850s, the Civil War, and Resilient Racism
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The universe possesses no power that can elevate error into the dignity —the illinois state convention of.sc colored m.scen, galesbu.scrg, The Old Northwest’s racialized laws were the “error[s]” the Illinois Con-vention noted, which remained unresolved when they met, and indeed continued beyond 1870. Much as this history opened with an exami-...
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Old Northwest activists grappled with the immense challenge of secur-ing rights regardless of race in their reluctant region. While the battles over slavery and the “Black Laws” were inescapable for residents there, they were not merely of local concern. The Old Northwest was vital to the larger antislavery and anti-prejudice campaigns of its era. As activists ...
Appendix: Old Northwest Population Statistics, 1800–1870
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Page Count: 325
Publication Year: 2013