The Black Laws in the Old Northwest: A Documentary History

By Stephen Middleton | Go to book overview

I
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.


NUMBER 1

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,

-385-

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The Black Laws in the Old Northwest: A Documentary History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Ordinance of 1787, Article 6 xix
  • Introduction xxi
  • Notes xxvii
  • Part One- OHIO, March 1, 1803 1
  • I- Declaration of Rights 9
  • II- Enumeration and Election 11
  • III- Militia Policy 13
  • V- Colonization 19
  • VI- Kidnapping Law 25
  • VII- Public Education 33
  • VIII- Jury Law 47
  • IX- Reports- The Black Laws 49
  • X- Runaway Slaves 111
  • XI- Relief for the Poor 131
  • XII- Miscegenation of the Races 135
  • XIII- Civil Rights 137
  • Summary of Cases 143
  • Select Annotated Cases 147
  • Suggested Readings 155
  • Part Two- INDIANA, December 11, 1816 157
  • I- Declaration of Rights 163
  • II- Slavery 167
  • III- Indentured Servants and Laborers 185
  • IV- Suffrage and Election 195
  • V - Militia Policy 197
  • VI - Immigration and Residency 199
  • VII- Miscegenation Laws 207
  • VIII- Taxation and Enumeration 213
  • IX- Colonization 217
  • X- Kidnapping 227
  • XI- Fugitive Slaves 241
  • XII- Testimony and Witness 245
  • XIII- Public Education 251
  • XIV- Civil and Legal Rights 255
  • Summary of Cases 259
  • Select Annotated Cases 261
  • Suggested Readings 267
  • Part Three - ILLINOIS, December 3, 1818 269
  • Notes 274
  • I - Declaration of Rights 275
  • II- Militia Policy 279
  • III- Suffrage and Elections 281
  • IV- Servants and Slaves 285
  • V- Immigration and Residency 291
  • VI- Kidnapping 309
  • VII- Testimony and Witness 315
  • VIII- Runaway Slaves and Servants 319
  • X- Civil and Legal Rights 329
  • Summary of Cases 334
  • Select Annotated Cases 335
  • Suggested Readings 341
  • Part Four- MICHIGAN, January 26, 1837 343
  • I- Declaration of Rights 349
  • II - Kidnapping 353
  • III - The Slavery Controversy 359
  • IV- The Militia 363
  • V- Public Education 365
  • VI- Miscegenation of the Races 367
  • VII- Civil and Legal Rights 369
  • Summary of Cases 373
  • Select Annotated Cases 375
  • Suggested Readings 377
  • Part Five- WISCONSIN, May 29, 1848 379
  • Note 383
  • I- Declaration of Rights 385
  • II- Suffrage and Elections 387
  • III- Runaway Slaves 391
  • IV- Personal Liberty and Legal Rights 403
  • Summary of Cases 415
  • Select Annotated Cases 417
  • Suggested Readings 419
  • Index 421
  • About the Author 429
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