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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Our Struggles Take A Long Time To Resolve

On this date in 1790:

Memorials of the People called Quakers, in their annual meetings, held at Philadelphia and New York, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, were presented to the House and read, praying the attention of Congress in adopting measures for the abolition of the Slave Trade; and, in particular, in restraining vessels from being entered and cleared out for the purposes of that trade.

Ordered, That the said memorials do lie on the table.

We did that over and over again so much that Congress gagged abolitionists.  And in the waning days of Buchanan's administration in February of 1861:

By Mr. Spinner: The remonstrance of citizens of Little Falls, New York, against any concessions to or compromises with slavery; which was referred to the select committee of five.
...

Mr. McKean submitted the following preamble and resolution; and debate arising thereon, they lie over under the rule, viz:

Whereas the "Gulf States" have assumed to secede from the Union, and it is deemed important to prevent the "border slave States" from following their example; and whereas it is believed that those who are inflexibly opposed to any measure of compromise or concession that involves or may involve a sacrifice of principle or the extension of slavery would nevertheless cheerfully concur in any lawful measure for the emancipation of the slaves: Therefore--

Resolved, That the select committee of five be instructed to inquire whether, by the consent of the people, or of the State governments, or by compensating the slaveholders, it be practicable for the general government to procure the emancipation of the slaves in some or all of the "border States," and if so, to report a bill for that purpose.
...

Mr. Palmer submitted the following resolutions, viz:

Resolved, That neither the federal government nor the people or governments of the non-slaveholding States have a purpose or a constitutional right to legislate upon or interfere with slavery in any of the States of the Union.

Resolved, That those persons in the north who do not subscribe to the foregoing proposition are too insignificant in numbers and influence to excite the serious attention or alarm of any portion of the people of the republic, and that the increase of their numbers and influence does not keep pace with the increase of the aggregate population of the Union.

A division of the question having been demanded,

The Speaker stated the question to be first on the first resolution.

Pending which,

Mr. Palmer moved the previous question; which was seconded and the main question ordered and put, viz: Will the House agree thereto?

  • And it was decided in the affirmative,
  • Yeas ... 116
  • Nays ... 14

...

Mr. Sherman, by unanimous consent, submitted the following amendment in the nature of a substitute for both of the resolutions submitted by Mr. Palmer, viz: Strike out all after the word "Resolved" and insert:

"That neither the Congress of the United States nor the people or governments of the non-slaveholding States have the constitutional right to legislate upon or interfere with slavery in any of the slaveholding States in the Union."

And the question being put, Will the House agree thereto?

It was decided in the affirmative.

The question then recurring on the said resolutions as amended,

Mr. Sherman moved the previous question; which was seconded and the main question ordered and put, viz: Will the House agree to the said resolutions as amended?

  • And it was decided in the affirmative,
  • Yeas ... 161
  • Nays ... 0

...

So the said resolutions as amended were unanimously agreed to.

Not long after, a little dustup that even some Quakers felt compelled to join.  Just some perspective about today's kulturkampf.

ntodd

February 11, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink

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