Monday, October 7, 2013

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. Chase’s argument about the Fugitive Slave Act is not emotional. I personally think that his opinion is completely logical. Not only does he prove Daniel Webster and John C Calhoun Wrong by claiming that following the Constitution does not mean the country should have slavery, but also Chase proves using the constitution that slaves are not labeled as properties of men. Personally, I do not agree with the title “The Rescue of a Slave”. Slavery is moraly wrong, however, if you look at it in historical perspective, most whites were educated that they were superior and therefore they had truely thought that slaves were their own property. Therefore, the fact that the person who rescued the slave in reality did not rescue the slave because not only did he go to jail for rescuing her but Johnson is put in a situation where she probably has to go back to Wheeler. After knowing what its like to be free, it must be more harsh for Johnson to live as a slave.

  2. I believe Chase's argument was logical, analytic, and yet full of emotion. He clearly spent time analyzing the constitution order to find direct links to slavery however, there are also key words such as "unhappily", "excluded with special solitude" and the way he describes slavery in paragraph six clearly show his opinion that slavery is morally wrong.
    In reaction to Jane Johnson's piece I believe it is a very calm, peaceful story compared to the others we read, it has a very appropriate title because she does in fact, obtain freedom however at the cost of someone else's freedom which is interesting.
    The third piece is clearly against slavery, Kansas is referred to as "the virgin land" because it did not have slavery until it was introduced into the land, and slavery is a harlot because it is full of rape and abuse. I personally really loved this piece, it was filled with so much emotion.

  3. i think chases argument was more emotional and moral than political. My reaction to the Jane Johnson piece was that it was very inspiring and showed how even though the treay may have freed some slaves to their rights, it wasnt completley working because not all slaves even knew they had the right to be freed in the first place. Jane had had no idea that she could just leave her master with her two children. Kansas is a virgin because it was forced to do something it hadn't done and Butler was a chivalrous knight because it helped kansas while slavery was a harlot because it shouldnt be able to do what it wants

  4. I believe that Chase's argument is very emotional, yet still holds logic. He clearly displays his feelings toward slavery in his argument. I felt that the Jane Johnson piece was a more mellow representation of an anti-slavery story. Kansas in a virgin because it had not been exposed to slavery until it was and Slavery was a harlot because it consisted of actions it shouldn't have been.

  5. I think Chase's argument about the Fugitive Slave Act was more logical than it was emotional, however he did have his own negative opinion on slavery.
    In the Jane Johnson story, it was a little weird because her master, Mr. Williamson, wasn't trying to free her. He brought her to Philadelphia, a free-slave state, and she was rescued by other people there. Mr. Williamson obviously didn't want this to happen, but he had no choice so he acted like he wanted Jane to be free. What's interesting about the title is that she wasn't rescued like you would think. The law rescued her.

  6. Chase's argument is strong for me, even though he lost his case. However, I think this article of his words are more from his moral/emotional stand point. For instance, he said "the supporters of slavery are the sectionalists" and then he said he take no sectional position. This is very emotional. I think if one side is classified as sectionalist, so are the other side. Of course, have slaves are morally wrong, so he is coming from a moral stand point.
    For Jane Johnson's letter, I wonder what happened next. Did Jane Johnson go back to Mr. Wheeler? For the title, it is appropriate. At first I thought Jane Johnson rescues another slave. By reading on, I figured out it's someone who is put into prison because he helped Jane to freedom. Maybe the title is trying to convey the idea that slaves are affectionate, she would uses her freedom to get his freedom back.
    The last piece named Kansas the "virgin land". He innuendos slavery, full of sexual abuse and rape. Although I said the first piece has a strong argument, I think this one is more powerful.

  7. I agree strongly with Chases Argument, He basically talks about how the act protecting slaves was terrible. Also How it does not follow the constitution and goes against it. overall I found this very emotional.
    I found Jane Johnson's letter very interesting. Always saying she was a slave but wishing she was free.But the laws were holding her back from being free.
    Then Sumners speech surprised me. I could easily tell that he was a anti-slavery supporter. he was trying to make a compromise that would not make the slaves look shameful.

  8. Chase's argument was more based on political logic and legal proof. He pointed out that nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Congress has the power to establish or sustain slavery; the jurisdiction was left to the states. Therefore, freedom is national while slavery is sectional and local to the states. This means that the government had no right to force the Northerners to participate in the practice of slavery through the Fugitive Slave Act.
    In the second text, it was sad to realize that some slave owners were so delusional in their beliefs that their slaves were happy to be enslaved that Jane Johnson had to include a part in her deposition that stated that she would rather die than to go back to enslavement, and that she had the choice but chose to be free. The title made perfect sense to me, because Mrs. Johnson didn't run away, she was rescued by the free African-Americans who notified the authorities.
    I believe that Sumner added these innuendos to add emotion to his narrative. These derogatory uses of language also helped him portray the Southerners in a negative way.

  9. First of all , i Believe That chase 's argument was logical Because he " examine the instrument (the Constitution ) " step by step to show That slavery was avoided on it .
    But also, I use some pronouns in first person or some adjectives that Could show some emotion : such as " unhappily " or the last sentence " I shall feel myself by the percepts of the sages ... " . Also Chase Gives His review at some point When He defends freedom " Freedom is national ; slaverry is only locally and sectional ."
    I found the story " The Rescue of a slave " very interesting , and I think the title is well chosen Obtained Because she in fact her freedom even if someone else lost his freedom . There is one special thing in me and it shoked That 's When Jane is surprised Because everything is peaceful and there is no violence When she gets her freedom back "nobody forced me away , nobody pulled me , and nobody led me"
    The last text, was difficult for me to understand but I was very surprised because I think it has a very strong argument and very well defended . Sumner is completely against slavery and innuendos are used to put a pejorative adjective to each person or item.

  10. My initial reaction on Jane Johnsons story based off of the title was that it was going to be about someone from the north maybe, going and saving a slave from the south. After reading the piece i now know that it was about how other people saved Jane from her master when he tried to take her away on a boat. I do not think that the title of the story goes with the story at all because when i think of a rescue, i think of someone having a hard time, but in the story she said "nobody forced me away, nobody pulled me, and nobody led me". Overall i am still a bit confused about her story because she never really goes into detail and why would her master leave her at the table long enough to tell two other people her story?

  11. Chases argument is mostly focused on political logic. His argument was political because he uses examples of the constitution to support his logic. My personal reaction to the Jane Johnson piece was surprised. I was surprised because Jane didn't listen to her master, and told people that she was a slave instead of what he told her to tell people. I was also surprised because one person that she told about this told her that they would help to free her. This was surprising because most people wouldn't be able to help. I was also surprised at when she actually left her master. She was a single woman with 2 kids and she chose to be free which is a big deal because she had to take on a lot of responsibility and didn't have a place to live or food or anything.