Declaration of Rights
Wisconsin, the last state formed from the Old Northwest, adopted a bill of rights that included a prohibition against slavery. Unlike her sister states, Wisconsin never adopted a comprehensive list of black laws. The state was not neutral on race, however. Negrophobia pervaded the region and miscegenation and other social issues made most whites paranoid. they harbored strong feelings against African Americans and the prospect of racial mixing. For instance, whites believed that enfranchising blacks would foster interracial marriages. Although an unusual idea it helps to explain why whites in Wisconsin disfranchised blacks.
Constitution of Wisconsin, Article 1, 1848.
Section 1. All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights: among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Section 2. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state, otherwise than for the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
Section 3. Every person may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right, and no laws shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous be true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends,
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Publication information: Book title: The Black Laws in the Old Northwest:A Documentary History. Contributors: Stephen Middleton - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 385.
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