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Northwest Ordinance of 1787 as first step to secession

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by kepi, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. kepi

    kepi First Sergeant

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    What role did the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 have on secession? Was it a factor (threat to slavery) or just historical background noise?
     
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  3. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Wiki says
     
  4. uaskme

    uaskme Corporal

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    http://slavenorth.com/northwest.htm
    Some of the more harsh Black Laws were created. We can see the pattern of Black Exclusion being used in the Territories which became Free States. The North used Black Exclusion and the South used Slavery to control their respective Color Barriers. Black Exclusion was a trigger during the Kansas/Nebraska period. Republicans wanted the Territories for White Immigration. So yes this was more than background noise.
     
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  5. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    It seems to be a real factor as per the Declarations of causes:


    It does get specifically called out by MS:

    "The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory."


    GA also mentions it:

    "The Constitution delegated no power to Congress to excluded either party from its free enjoyment; therefore our right was good under the Constitution. Our rights were further fortified by the practice of the Government from the beginning. Slavery was forbidden in the country northwest of the Ohio River by what is called the ordinance of 1787. That ordinance was adopted under the old confederation and by the assent of Virginia, who owned and ceded the country, and therefore this case must stand on its own special circumstances. "


    TX does not specifically get into the NW ordnance but possibly alludes to it:

    "The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States."

    SC also mentions the NW ordnance:

    "The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."

    This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River."
     
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  6. trice

    trice Major

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    George Washington believed in the Northwest Ordinance. He said so twice in letters to Lafayette. I have never seen where this was a particularly divisive issue when it was passed. In the 1780s there seems to have been a belief slavery would dwindle and die even in "the South"; much of the resistance to banning the Atlantic Slave Trade seems to have been about the need to rebuild from the devastation of the Revolution first.

    Of course, the invention of the Cotton Gin (patented 1794) changed everything by changing cotton into a hugely profitable crop. After that, the pro-slavery people became adamant about the expansion of slavery.
     
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  7. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    It was very important, as to whether the Congress(and, thus, the Executive and Judicial, also) had the Constitutional right and power to regulate slavery.

    To Lincoln, it was significant that from the extant record of its adoption, the right of Congress was little debated and the vote for it, seems to have been Unanimous.

    It is a political axiom, that the power to regulate, is the power to destroy, as later generations of slave supporters soon recognized.
     
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  8. kepi

    kepi First Sergeant

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    I notice where Mississippi sites it in their secession ordinance:


    The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory.
     
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  9. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    This reminds me, that, again, as pointed out, the Ordinance was, Originally, passed by the Congress under the authority of the AoC.

    If, as noted by Lincoln, the framers of the Constitution knew and understood the issue of slavery in the territories, as well, or even better that those of Lincoln's day(as Sen. Stephen Douglas, et. al., claimed) then the proper duty of all good citizens, should return to the principle's that made and actuated that law possible, in the first place.
     
  10. CW Buff

    CW Buff Sergeant

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    I'm not denying what you say (I haven't studied the subject of Northern black codes themselves nearly enough to say anything for certain), and I certainly would not deny rampant racism in the North, but I would offer some caution on this line of reasoning. Southerners also migrated into free territories and states. In southern OH, IN, and IL they began arriving as soon as (OH), if not earlier than (IN, IL), Northerner immigrants. The further west you go on the north side of the Ohio River (Ohio-Indiana-Illinois), the greater that early Southern influence was. In IN and IL it resulted in attempts to convert these territories to slavery on an outright/institutional basis (an effort that was stronger in IL than IN), and pseudo-slavery continued there for some time. Early Northerners into these regions no doubt fell into the usual categories; a minority who opposed slavery on moral grounds (who might be expected to oppose black codes), and a majority who were racist and opposed slavery on a 'no blacks allowed' basis (who would themselves desire black codes). This is not to place the blame solely on Southern immigrants, or to say that Northern immigrants would not have instituted black codes without Southern influence, but I don't think its a coincidence that most egregious examples were in IN and IL, or that the original Northern states are not mentioned. OTOH, I'll also note that Governor Coles, an IL-an who hailed from VA, freed his slaves rather than attempt pseudo-slavery, and genuinely opposed both slavery and the black codes in IL (i.e. a Southern abolitionist).
     
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  11. CW Buff

    CW Buff Sergeant

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    I take issue with Wiki on this sentence:

    The NWO did not come out of nowhere, the stage was already set. The Revolution killed slavery in the North (or at least mortally wounded it), both via the loss of slaves who gained their freedom via the British, and the establishment of the principles that eventually helped bring about its death in the South.

    The NWO was the first act, and also included that vote, lost by a margin of 1, whereby a ban on slavery throughout the western territory was lost (which would prove to be the last chance to permanently solve the issue peacefully). I see the result as no different from the MO Compromise: this side ours, that side mine (another permanent, whoops, temporary solution).

    The Constitution reset the stage for all subsequent acts, including the last.
     
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  12. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    Lincoln, in his arguments against the abrogation of the Mo. Compromise, discussed evidence of the intents of the Framers of the Constitution, by noting that the NWO was enacted under the AoC and was added to the Constitution with little or no debate.

    Lincoln further noted, that at the time of the of its inclusion in AoC and, later, the framing of the Constitution, the territories of the NWO, were all the territories possessed or claimed, by the United States.

    If one were intent on the intent the Founding Fathers(and Framers of the Constitution), it would seem that they meant All territories of the United States were intended to be free.
     
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  13. trice

    trice Major

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    On the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (actually the third of four Northwest Ordinances enacted by the US), the issue of slavery was not quite what we think it might have been in those days, and the people supporting and opposed not exactly who we might think they were. The following account follows Lalor's Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States, 1881:
    1. The Congress had formed a committee of three people to study the issue of the territories and report back with a plan on how to organize them. The 3 men were Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Rufus King of Massachusetts and Nathan Dane of Massachusetts. They produced three different versions of what happened afterwards, but here is what the report Jefferson wrote said about slavery and how the slavery issue went in 1784:
      • "After the year 1800 there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the said states other than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."
      • This plan covered all states to be formed in western territories (whether ceded yet or not) from the Gulf of Mexico to the British Americas border. The plan looks to 17 states in that area, all to be free of slavery.
      • The congress voted on this plan and approved it by April 24, 1784 -- but the slavery provision failed to pass Congress and was left out.
      • On April 19, the vote on the slavery provision went like this:
        • New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania voted for it;
        • Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina, against it;
        • North Carolina was divided; and New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia were unrepresented.
        • New Jersey actually voted for it, but only had 1 man present. Since 2 were required for a state to vote, NJ goes down as unrepresented.
        • Seven states needed to vote for it to pass it.
      • From an April 25, 1784 Jefferson letter: "The clause was lost by an individual vote only. Ten states were present. The four eastern states, New York, and Pennsylvania were for the clause; Jersey would have been for it, but there were but two members, one of whom was sick in his chambers. South Carolina, Maryland, and [!] Virginia [!] voted against it. North Carolina was divided, as would have been Virginia, had not one of its delegates been sick in bed."
      • This is usually called the Land Ordinance of 1784.
    2. In the Land Ordinance of 1785. Congress returned to this matter. Public education was included and a land distribution method modeled more on Northern community-style allocation than Southern individualism, but anti-slavery came up just short again. Lalor says this about 1785:
      • March 16, 1785, Rufus King, of Massachusetts, afterward of New York, offered a resolution that slavery in the whole western territory be immediately prohibited. The language is Jefferson's, excluding the words "after the year 1800," and changing "duly convicted" into "personally guilty." By a vote of eight states to three this was committed, and a favorable report was made, April 14 (probably); but it was never acted upon.
    3. On July 13, 1787, the Congress of the Confederation passed what we call the Northwest Ordinance. This included the slavery prohibition. From Lalor:
      • ... The prohibition of slavery followed Jefferson's, excluding the words "after the year 1800," thus making it immediate, and adding a fugitive slave clause. ... This article, says Dane, in a letter of July 16, 1787, to King, "I had no idea the states would agree to, and therefore omitted it in the draft; but, finding the house favorably disposed on this subject, after we had completed the other parts, I moved the article, which was agreed to without opposition."
      • On the other hand, as this was an ordinance for the government only of the territory northwest of the Ohio, its prohibition of slavery was territorially only about half as large as Jefferson's; and this may help to explain the different fates of the two.
      • A further explanation of the passage of Dane's ordinance, even with a prohibition of slavery, has recently been brought to light by Mr. W. F. Poole (see "North American Review," among the authorities): in 1787 Dr. Manasseh Cutler, agent of the Ohio land company in Massachusetts, was ready to purchase 5,000,000 acres of land in Ohio if it should be organized as a free territory, and his judicious presentation of this fact to congress had a powerful influence upon the result.
      • Article III., and the conclusion of article IV., guaranteeing the freedom of navigation of the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, were new, and seem to have been due to Timothy Pickering, of Massachusetts.
      • Nine states [Change: eight states] voted Aye: Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. There were 18 representatives present for those states and they voted 17-1 in favor of passage -- the lone Nay was a man from New York.
      • Four states either did not vote or had no representatives present: New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania. [Change: Five states: forgot Rhode Island]
    Given that all four of the states in "the South" voted in favor of the bill, it is hard to see where there was any true divide in the country on this issue -- certainly not the adamant one that arose later.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
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  14. uaskme

    uaskme Corporal

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    Intent is different than what the framers invisioned. If the Framers Intended that Slavery to be Excluded from the Territories they could of written it that way. They saw Slavery as a Sectional Issue and avoided it. Excluded it from National Politics. This continued for 30 or 40 years until it became a recognized Political Issue. Lincoln and the Republicans recognized Slavery in the States where it was whether they were the original 13 or later formed. Lincoln also pledged to and did enforce the FSL.
     
  15. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    Certainly, it would seem that the vision of the Framers of the Constitution(and AoC) was exactly the same as their intent. Clearly, by their action, of eliminating slavery from All the territories possessed or claimed by the United States. they announced to the world, exactly their vision and their intent.

    What other comment was needed or necessary, than, that they envisioned and intended that all territories of the United should be free of the blight of slavery?
     
  16. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    I don't follow that the 3/5 rule, the fugitive slave clause and the ban on slave importation (post 1808), all of which were included in the US Constitution, make slavery "Excluded ... from National Politics."
     
  17. uaskme

    uaskme Corporal

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    Jefferson was President and didn't touch it. Thomas Randolf his Son in Law ask him for his help, Jefferson refrained. Randolf was attempting Emancipation in the State of VA. Slavery was the 3rd rail of Politics until the 30s. Several Yankee States had Slavery. Yankee Slave owners benefited from these measures the 3/5 and the FSL. The whole Slave Power rhetoric was just Political Propaganda. Used to help condition the Yankee population to attack the South. That and other agitations made it a Political Issue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  18. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    Was that intended to answer the question? I honestly can't tell ...
     

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