Which Northern States barred freed slaves/blacks from coming to live there

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
Actually Oregon became a state in 1859. And yes, it not only had a constitution that banned slavery, but a constitution that virtually prohibited free blacks from entering. But here's the interesting thing. Even though Oregon was coming into the Union as a free state, its admittance was opposed by Republicans. And they opposed it largely because of its horribly racist constitution:

'When the Oregon issue reached the House, however, Republican opposition to admission had mounted, and only fifteen Republicans voted in favor, while seventy-three opposed, and some of the fifteen said they regretted the Negro clauses. The motives of those who opposed admission are hard to fix with certainty, but many, especially from the East, sincerely objected to the treatment of free Negroes. Abbott of Maine, for example, denounced the constitution in the strongest terms. "You may go back to the earliest monuments of the human race," he said, "... you may search the journals of barbarians and pirates,... and you will find nothing that is more infamous and inhuman than the negro section of the Oregon constitution."'

- Eric Foner, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War, p. 289
Oh boy, I was reading the recent book out on John Bingham and the 14th Amendment and it had a long section on opposition to the Oregon Constitution by Republicans in Congress and somehow I transposed that opposition to 1865. The mind works in strange ways, at least mine does.
 

Rank and File

Corporal
Joined
Mar 25, 2015
Location
California
Interesting thread. So, IL, IN, and OR were the only northern states that actually enacted legislation that kept free blacks from settling, or were there others? I'm not including OH.
 

MaryDee

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Oregon had a provision in its Constitution forbidding blacks to live in the state. That clause was not repealed until 1926, although never strictly enforced. However, when I was living in Oregon from 1960-1962, there were an awful lot of "Whites Only" signs on downtown businesses.

From what I've read, Oregon's governor Lane really cheated to get the state admitted, by overstating the population! That's the same Lane who was vice-presidential candidate for the southern Democrats in the 1860 election.
 
Last edited:

James B White

Captain
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Well, I'm hesitent to bring up Ohio again, and I'm not going to mention the college whose name I dare not speak, but Ohio didn't actually bar free blacks, did it? They just had to jump through some difficult hoops, that weren't always enforced but were always on the books. Still, that's not actually barring.

http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/ohio-enacts-black-laws

[In 1804] The legislation forced blacks and mulattoes to furnish certificates of freedom from a court in the United States before they could settle in Ohio. All black residents had to register with the names of their children by June 1, 1805. The registration fee was 12 and a half cents per name.

It became a punishable offense to employ a black person who could not present a certificate of freedom. Anyone harboring or helping fugitive slaves was fined $1,000, with the informer receiving half of the fine. On January 25, 1807, these laws were toughened and other states followed Ohio’s lead. The Black Laws remained in effect until 1849.

Was there a later Ohio law that actually barred blacks completely?
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
IIRC New Jersey and Connecticut banned free blacks from settlement in the 18th century.

Massachusetts explored exclusionary laws in 1821 but they failed.

Missouri passed an exclusion law for freed blacks in 1824.

Ohio's black codes required the posting of bonds by free blacks also was used Michigan and later adopted by Iowa; while not uniformly enforced they restricted migration.

Some western territorial legislatures passed exclusion laws.

Iowa passed an exclusion law in 1851. It was followed by Illinois and Indiana. The referendums supporting these actions passed 79% to 21% in ILL and 84% to 16% in IND. Oregon entered the union with an exclusion law in place.

The Topeka Constitution banned both slaves and blacks from immigrating to Kansas when offered as the alternative to the Lecompton. (Neither document led to statehood and Kansas' first constitution did not ban freed blacks.)

A ban was passed by the California legislature but never became law and further attempts failed. Bans were attempted in Wisconsin and Minnesota but failed.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
So, one slave state, Missouri
Then Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, and Oregon.

Are the actual laws in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana bans? Or are they discrimination with "hoops?" as stated above?

Personally, I like when a poster brings the thunder about Ohio!
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
So, one slave state, Missouri
Then Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, and Oregon.

Are the actual laws in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana bans? Or are they discrimination with "hoops?" as stated above?

Personally, I like when a poster brings the thunder about Ohio!

These states originally had black codes that were discriminatory and discouraged settlement. Later they adopted exclusionary laws that prohibited migration entirely.

Other slave states besides MO prohibited immigration of free blacks but the OP concerned 'northern states'

Other forms of discriminatory laws used at different times in the north and south prohibited property ownership, denied blacks access to occupations in professions and crafts, promoted segregation, and denied equal protection, sufferage, and rights of petition and redress. These would all discourage settlement.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
Some of the laws in question depended on which political groups were in power. Ohio had enacted restrictions on free blacks in the early 1800s but the growth of the Free Soil party in Ohio (and the rise to power of people like Chase, Giddings, and the Wade brothers) led to a removal of some of these restrictions
 
Ohio's black codes required the posting of bonds by free blacks also was used Michigan and later adopted by Iowa; while not uniformly enforced they restricted migration.

Michigan's version of a Black code was enacted when it was a territory but was very rarely enforced. When Michigan became a state in 1837, the legislature repealed all restrictions and hindrances to Black immigration into the state with the passage of its first set of state codes in 1838.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
It's a lot of free blacks very early and in communities we never hear of- or seem to acknowledge. Just did a thread on uber irritating auctions on Ebay- early photographs being sold as ' slave '. Yes, all owners of enslaved allowed them wonderful clothing and paid photographers for a precious likeness.

Be great to hear more on the states- guessing there were reprisals if someone was caught not following the laws? And why is there an entire web site devoted to - well, whatever on earth it is devoted to, slavenorth?
 

brass napoleon

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Member of the Year
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
Ohio
Well, I'm hesitent to bring up Ohio again, and I'm not going to mention the college whose name I dare not speak, but Ohio didn't actually bar free blacks, did it? They just had to jump through some difficult hoops, that weren't always enforced but were always on the books. Still, that's not actually barring.

http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/ohio-enacts-black-laws

[In 1804] The legislation forced blacks and mulattoes to furnish certificates of freedom from a court in the United States before they could settle in Ohio. All black residents had to register with the names of their children by June 1, 1805. The registration fee was 12 and a half cents per name.

It became a punishable offense to employ a black person who could not present a certificate of freedom. Anyone harboring or helping fugitive slaves was fined $1,000, with the informer receiving half of the fine. On January 25, 1807, these laws were toughened and other states followed Ohio’s lead. The Black Laws remained in effect until 1849.

Was there a later Ohio law that actually barred blacks completely?

No, there was never an Ohio law that actually barred blacks completely. Ohio gets put into that category as the result of a Lost Cause misrepresentation of its bond law. But that law was in fact very sporadically enforced - most notably in Cincinnati - right across the river from the slaveholding state of Kentucky - and even then only on rare occasions. And as you noted, that law, along with several other of Ohio's Black Laws, was repealed in 1849 when the Free Soilers got the balance of power in the General Assembly. The Democratic Party tried very hard to restore it over the next two decades, but were unable to.
 

brass napoleon

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Member of the Year
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
Ohio
And why is there an entire web site devoted to - well, whatever on earth it is devoted to, slavenorth?

The site is devoted to exposing the North's participation in slavery. Personally, I think there's a need for a site to do that honestly, objectively and without bias or distortion. Unfortunately, slavenorth fails miserably.
 
Last edited:

SharonS

Corporal
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Location
Connecticut
The legislative reaction to Prudence Crandall's opening of a school for black girls in Canterbury CT in the early 1830's was based on preventing out-of-state free blacks coming into CT for education without local consent, which Crandall certainly didn;t have in Canterbury. It was this so-called Black Law under which she was convicted. Her conviction was overturned on a minor technicality, although the law was upheld as constitutional. She eventually closed the school because of vandalism but not because of the law, which wasn't successfully enforced. A funny thing happened, though. The legislation was widely held to be overreaction, even among many racists. Crandall's most determined prosecutor, Andrew Judson, later became a federal judge and was among the most important figures in deciding that the Amistad mutineers were free and not slaves. The distaste in which Crandall's treatment was held may also have contributed to New England's disgust with to the Fugitive Slave Laws of the early 1850s. Crandall is Connecticut's state heroine. Mine too.
 

brass napoleon

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Member of the Year
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
Ohio
The legislative reaction to Prudence Crandall's opening of a school for black girls in Canterbury CT in the early 1830's was based on preventing out-of-state free blacks coming into CT for education without local consent, which Crandall certainly didn;t have in Canterbury. It was this so-called Black Law under which she was convicted. Her conviction was overturned on a minor technicality, although the law was upheld as constitutional. She eventually closed the school because of vandalism but not because of the law, which wasn't successfully enforced. A funny thing happened, though. The legislation was widely held to be overreaction, even among many racists. Crandall's most determined prosecutor, Andrew Judson, later became a federal judge and was among the most important figures in deciding that the Amistad mutineers were free and not slaves. The distaste in which Crandall's treatment was held may also have contributed to New England's disgust with to the Fugitive Slave Laws of the early 1850s. Crandall is Connecticut's state heroine. Mine too.

Indeed. A very brave and dedicated lady.
 

KLSDAD

First Sergeant
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Location
Fremont, MI
Well, whichever ones they may have been, and whatever restrictions they may or may not have asked for in legislation, they apparently were so poorly enforced that between 1863-65, the following number of men were recruited for the US Army into loyal state units that were eventually folded into what became known as the USCTs:

Connecticut - 1784
Delaware - 954
District of Columbia - 3269
Illinois - 1811
Indiana - 1537
Iowa - 440
Kansas - 2080
Kentucky - 23703
Maine - 104
Maryland - 8718
Massachusetts - 2966
Michigan - 1387
Minnesota - 104
Missouri - 8344
New Hampshire - 125
New Jersey - 1185
New York - 4125
Ohio - 5092
Pennsylvania - 8612
Rhode Island - 1837
Vermont - 120
West Virginia - 196
Wisconsin - 165

The above, of course, does not include the 99,337 USCTs recruited in rebel states...

Figures are from Dyer.

Best,
I'm not sure that this proves their residency in each state listed. My understanding is that, particularly with colored units, the states recruited heavily from other states. No?
 

SharonS

Corporal
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Location
Connecticut
I'm not sure that this proves their residency in each state listed. My understanding is that, particularly with colored units, the states recruited heavily from other states. No?
I did a quick look for rosters of the 3 Connecticut colored regiments...29th, 30th, and 31st.. and couldn't immediately find state of origin. But I did find the statistic that 1700 men participated in the units over the 18th months of their existences out of only about 2000 black men of military age in the state. Even allowing for the extraordinary support for the war of the free black community and the courage of the men, this percentage seems improbably high. At least some must have come from out of state.
 

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
Col. Hallowell gives the breakdown of the nativity of the men of his 55th Mass.:

55th1.png

55th2.png

source: The Negro as a Soldier in the War of the Rebellion
Of course, this doesn't speak to their residence at the time of their enlistment.

ETA: Hallowell also describes the very mixed reception the recruitment of colored soldiers elicited:
"Public opinion in the North was either avowedly hostile to this scheme or entirely skeptical as to its value. In Philadelphia, recruiting was attended with some little danger, and with so much annoyance that the place of rendezvous was kept secret and the squads were marched under cover of darkness to the depot. In Ohio it was considered a good joke to get the 'darkies on to Massachusetts,' -- a joke that was bitterly repented when Ohio at a later day tried in vain to get those same "darkies" credited to her quota. In Boston there were contemptuous remarks by individuals from both extremes of society; by certain members of a prominent club, who later on hissed the Fifty-fourth Regiment from their windows as it marched on its way to the front; and by a Boston journal whose editors disgraced their columns with reflections too vulgar for repetition."
 
Last edited:

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
The site is devoted to exposing the North's participation in slavery. Personally, I think there's a need for a site to do that honestly, objectively and without bias or distortion. Unfortunately, slavenorth fails miserably.
I agree, but the problem is motivation. Pure boring history and motivation don't seem to cohabitate too often.
 
Top