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The Constitution in CongressDescent into the Maelstrom, 1829-1861$
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David P. Currie

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226129167

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226131160.001.0001

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The Great Petition Fight

The Great Petition Fight

(p.3) 1 The Great Petition Fight
The Constitution in Congress
University of Chicago Press

Slavery was about to become the defining issue that would divide the United States, first ideologically and then to the point of war. It was around 1830 that the abolitionist movement began to grow in militancy, and in the North, soon to be alimented by the abolition of slavery in all British colonies. Abolitionist propaganda raised fears of slave insurrection in the South, and Congress was inundated with this propaganda and with petitions, together with questions connected with the colonization of African Americans in Africa and the admission of Arkansas to the Union that produced the first congressional confrontations over slavery during this period. On December 12, 1831 John Quincy Adams, the only ex-President yet to serve in Congress, presented to the House of Representatives fifteen petitions from Pennsylvania citizens to abolish both slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia.

Keywords:   slavery, abolitionist movement, British colonies, District of Columbia

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