Voices Of Pro-Slavery In A Free State - The Abolition Debate In Massachusetts

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Voices of Pro-Slavery in a Free State - the abolition Debate in Massachusetts


In this paper we are going to discuss the social economic background that produced anti-abolition sentiment in Massachusetts and the development of anti-abolition movement in Massachusetts and how it rose to be a force in Massachusetts.

The Anti-Abolition in the Massachusetts means a current of thought opposed to slavery on American soil. It has its roots in the colonial era in the protests of the Quakers, soon followed by other Protestant sects, Methodists or Baptists who continue to play a decisive role in the continuation of the movement after the declaration of independence.

Two events are the backdrop for this text: first, the vote of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which calls into question the Missouri Compromise and causes the first stirrings of pro-slavery settlers, originally clashes of Bleeding Kansas, on the other hand, the implementation of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 that radicalized the American abolitionist movement, and questioned the legitimacy of direct action. Several acts of resistance against the law have occurred since 1850. A particular event is more central to the argument of Thoreau. Not long ago, in Boston, a group of abolitionists, including many of the author's knowledge, has tried unsuccessfully to free Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave from Massachusetts, held pending his transfer to his plantation of origin. Several leaders of the assault, which was fatal to one of the guards, have been charged following the operation.

Anti-Abolition Movement

Among the acknowledged truisms of Southern history is the debate that the increase of the Abolition act in the North initiated the South to turn to the protecting of slavery. In the midst of the sectional argument, Southerners certainly claimed that their own insistence upon the validity of slavery was due to Abolition agitation. In 1843, George Tucker declared that "the efforts of Abolitionists have hitherto made the persons in the slaveholding states cling to it [slavery] more tenaciously. Those efforts are examined by them as an intermeddling in their household anxieties that is identically unwarranted by the comity that is due to sister states, and to the somber promises of the Federal compact." This outlook has proceeded to be acknowledged, with even such critical historians as Charles and Mary Beard affirming that "the direct result of the anti-slavery clangor was a consolidation of forces and a seeking of minds and hearts for a productive answer. Clearly the hour for apologetics had reached and human understanding was identical to the occasion. Despite such unanimity of testimony, the claim that the pro-slavery debate was a response to Abolitionism will not stand the lightweight of examination.

A cursory glimpse at Southern polemics before Garrison will suffice to display that all of the characteristics of the pro-slavery debate were currently in circulation before the Garrisonian crusade was commenced, while a written check of the position in the South in the time span before the fiery Liberator came to frightening the ...