The Rescue of Joshua Glover: A Fugitive Slave, the Constitution, and the Coming of the Civil War

Ohio University Press, 2006 M12 31 - 272 páginas

On March 11, 1854, the people of Wisconsin prevented agents of the federal government from carrying away the fugitive slave, Joshua Glover. Assembling in mass outside the Milwaukee courthouse, they demanded that the federal officers respect his civil liberties as they would those of any other citizen of the state. When the officers refused, the crowd took matters into its own hands and rescued Joshua Glover. The federal government brought his rescuers to trial, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court intervened and took the bold step of ruling the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional.

The Rescue of Joshua Glover delves into the courtroom trials, political battles, and cultural equivocation precipitated by Joshua Glover’s brief, but enormously important, appearance in Wisconsin on the eve of the Civil War.

H. Robert Baker articulates the many ways in which this case evoked powerful emotions in antebellum America, just as the stage adaptation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was touring the country and stirring antislavery sentiments. Terribly conflicted about race, Americans struggled mightily with a revolutionary heritage that sanctified liberty but also brooked compromise with slavery. Nevertheless, as The Rescue of Joshua Glover demonstrates, they maintained the principle that the people themselves were the last defenders of constitutional liberty, even as Glover’s rescue raised troubling questions about citizenship and the place of free blacks in America.

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1 Rescuing Joshua Glover
2 The Fugitive Slave Act
3 The Disappearance of Joshua Glover
4 Citizenship and the Duty to Resist
5 The Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Fugitive Slave Act
6 The Constitution before the People
7 Denouement
The Ends of History
Selected Bibliography
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Página 205 - That the provisions of an act entitled "an act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters...
Página 15 - The right of the people peaceably to assemble to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.
Página 223 - ... 1. By virtue of process issued by any court or judge of the United States, in a case where such court or judge has exclusive jurisdiction; or, 2. By virtue of the final judgment or decree of any competent court of criminal jurisdiction, or of any process issued upon such judgment or decree.
Página 52 - Constitution referred to, in conformity with the provisions of this act; and all good citizens are hereby commanded to aid and assist in the prompt and efficient execution of this law, whenever their services may be required...
Página 155 - But although we think it unnecessary to discuss these questions, yet, as they have been decided by the State court, and are before us on the record, and we are not willing to be misunderstood, it is proper to say that, in the judgment of this court, the act of Congress commonly called the fugitive slave law is, in all of its provisions, fully authorized by the Constitution of the United States...
Página 104 - But this does not extend to moonlight ; for then many midnight burglaries would go unpunished : 'and besides, the malignity of the offence does not so properly arise from its being done in the dark, as at the dead of night ; when all the creation, except beasts of prey, are at rest; when sleep has disarmed the owner, and rendered his castle defenceless.

Acerca del autor (2006)

H. Robert Baker is an assistant professor of legal and constitutional history at Georgia State University.

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