Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fueling the Fire...

Many argue that the two most controversial provisions in the Compromise of 1850 were the strengthened Fugitive Slave Act and popular sovereignty in the western territories.  Not surprisingly, both of these issues caused heated controversy almost immediately after the compromise.  

What do you make of Chase's argument about the Fugitive Slave Act?  Was it moral/emotional, or was he focused more on political logic?  

What is your personal reaction to the Jane Johnson piece?  What is interesting about the wording of the title?

Why is Sumner's piece so full of innuendo?  Why is Kansas a virgin, Butler a "chivalrous knight," and slavery a harlot?

p.s. Yes, I realize I scanned the Sumner piece with my handwriting all over it--apologies.


  1. I agree very much with Chase's argument. He basically called B.S. to the act protecting slaves. He mentioned that the act goes completely against the constitution. I think that he did have some moral reason behind writing this. He mentioned that freedom and ethics would change because of this. Jane Johnson's piece was very interesting. I think the title perfectly described how she was rescued and how she was treated unfairly by being forced to be a slave, even though she could be free.

  2. Chase's argument was fueled by moral objections but reinforced through political logic. I thought he had a good argument about slavery being a state's right issue and not a federal gov't issue because of it not being mentioned in the constitution. Jane Johnson's piece really shed some light on the need for a national law on slavery because it is a bit absurd to have your property confiscated in a different state. If I can bring my macbook everywhere, why shouldn't I be able to take my slave? Summer's piece was probably meant to spur an emotional reaction, and it did. Sadly, it resulted in him being caned.

  3. I think Chase's argument was primarily for a political motive. He states that slavery is am "approved feature of our political system." By mentioning slavery's role in the constitution also brought up a political sense in his argument. Yet he is successful in weaving in emotional ties that strengthen his argument by reaching out to his audience. Because of these two intertwining senses, I think his argument is worthwhile.

    I found Jane to be very brave because she continued to tell people she was a slave wished she was free even though Mr. Wheeler deliberately told her not to say this. I also thought it was interesting because it was just so easy, she was just able to walk away, but this fugitive slave law is holding her back a little. So yes she was "the rescue of a slave" but it is not as simple as that….

    Wow, Sumner's speech was quite aggressive….no wonder why he got caned….
    Describing Kansas as a "virgin" with slavery in it as the "harlot" sums up his strong anti-slavery opinion. Obviously he is willing to go very far to voice his opinion…..

  4. Chase's reference to slavery's absence in the constitution gave me an idea that he was focused on a political idea. However, he does make use of emotion to connect with who he is presenting information to. He mentioned that ethics would change with the constitution aspect. Regarding Jane Johnson's article, it touched me when she replied, "I do, but I belong to this gentlemen and I can't have it," when Mr. Wheeler asked her if she wanted freedom. The title, "the rescue of a slave", describes the ultimate ending of the piece, but it had its many obstacles. Finally, Sumner's description of Kansas as a "virgin," Butler as a "chivalrous knight," and slavery as the "harlot" are examples to just how anti-slavery he is.

  5. Chases argument was political then emotional because he talks about all the different acts that support the fugitive alve act. that being said i do believe that he had some emotional attachment to the acts because he knows that slavery is wrong and should be abolished.

    I thought that the Jane Johnson article was unique in that it was the 1st slave account i have read in that the slave is rescued by a northern in front of the master. it was a surprise how the northern man just took the slave with really bo interference by the master.

    i think sumner's speech was a call to the everyday person. the fact that he related each "character" to things that common people knew and about and cared about shows that he was calling not just on congress but everyone in the nation that heard the speech.

  6. I found Charles' arguments to be pretty emotional. And also backed up with politics. "What, then, shall we find it? The guarantees so much talked about? Recognition of property in men? Stipulated protection for that property in national territories and by national law? No: sir, nothing like it." You can tell just from this one reading how emotional he is about what he is trying to say. I thought it was very brave of Jane when that man asked if she wanted to be free, and she replied back, "I do, but I belong to this gentle man so I can't have it." And lastly, one can tell that sumner was quite the abolishinist. His very first sentence begins with, "Mr. President, you are now called to readdress a great wrong." The rest of the pice goes on to talk about how unconstitutional this is. It is definitely clear Mr. Sumner was not afraid to speak his mind.

  7. I think that Jane Johnson was a very brave woman. She disobeyed her master's orders by speaking to other 'colored' people. She did this knowing that her master was a very powerful person in American politics at the time. The fact that she just left the boat children in tow is amazing. I think the title 'The Rescue of a Slave' is interesting because she really was saved, but the interpretation of who rescued her is up in the air.

  8. I found the Jane Johnson piece particularly interesting because, like Mike said, the master didn't seem to make any ate,pt to stop the Northerner from giving Jane her freedom. I thought that this was quite strange, especially because slaves were so expensive for slave owners to buy, and he would just want to give a slave away like that.
    Summer's speech to me was I prestige because he showed just hot passionate he was about the abolition if slavery.

  9. I think that Chases piece was very emotional. All the time he talked about how terrible things have become, he accuses America to break with it's own ideals, he says that slavery has nothing to do with American nationality, it was a local issue and couldn't be tolerated.

    My first reaction to Janes piece was wondering, whether the slave owners in the southern states had hidden from their slaves what was going on or if it was just her who was to naive to make the connection when her master prohibited her to talk to other colored people when they went to Philadelphia. Obviously, he was very careful to hide the political situation from her, when the white gentlemen came to talk to her about her rights, the master first refuses to let them talk to each other.

    Sumners Speech was really aggressive, I can imagine that he as an absolute anti-slavery fighter saw the Kansas-Nebraska Act as a try from the Southerners to get more pro-slavery voices in the parliament by letting the people in the territories decide whether slavery shall be allowed or not. He calls Butler a “chevalrous knight” because he pretends to be an enlightened modern person, trying to make compromises like the Kansas-Nebraska-Act, which in Sumners eyes was a rape to the “virgin Kansas” (virgin because it was new in the states and “untouched”) because it gave slavery a terrible shame for the nation,(harlot) a chance to rise.

  10. Well, chases's peace got a good point by saying that if we put slavery into the Constitution would be a recognition to the ownership to another human-being and change the basic essential moral value. Also, chase did a good job by taking things to emotional level and make neat connection with audience. Jane's tale sounds unique to me because the way she told her tale just sounds touchable and helpless. I could feel the joy once she stood on the street of nyc and had her first taste of real self-direct. As for Sumner's speech, wow, just love the way he describe slavery as a harlot mistress and Kansas was a virgin about to be raped by the wickedness of slavery. The speech was aggressive and incendiary.

  11. I like Chase's argument. He called the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional, but did so in a way that concealed his opinion on the matter of slavery. He said the federal government should not have interfered because, by the Constitution, slavery was a state policy. I sympathize with Jane Johnson and I'm glad she and two of her children were freed. It is unfortunate that her other son was left in Richmond and that she never saw him again. Sumner was probably speaking in the way he did to elicit an emotional response from Butler. And although this led to him being caned, he came to be known as a martyr for his cause.