(1830 - 1840)

Chronology On The History of Slavery, 1830 To 1840


In Fairfax County Virginia, a major source of income for residents came from selling or hiring out their excess slaves. Slave markets were run by Joseph Bruin at the West End and by Alexander Grigsby at Centreville. There were frequent slave auctions at the front door of the Fairfax courthouse. Bruin regularly advertised in the Gazette that he offered "cash for Negroes," and that he was "at all times in the market" for "likely young Negroes for the South" pay liberal prices for all Negroes from 10-30 years of age." Gazettette, 20 March 1944. (Fairfax County, Virginia a History. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax, Virginia, 1978 p 262)


There were more than 2 million African-American slaves in the U.S. The 1865 EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION (1863) and Union victory (1865) freed almost 4 million slaves. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)


United States Census for a John Adams at the same location as John Q. Adams from the 1820 Census located in the 1st Ward of Washington City show;
1 female slave 10-24; 1 free colored males under 10; 1 free colored male 10-24; 1 free colored male24-36; 1 free colored female 10-24; 2 white males 15-20 ; 1 white male 20-30; 1 white female 20-30; 2 white males 20-30; 1 white male 60-70, 2 white females under 5; 1 white female 20-30; 1 white female 30-40; (1830 DC Census, Second Entry page 58)


Abolitionists, in U.S. history, especially from 1830 to 1860, advocates of the compulsory emancipation of African-American slaves. Abolitionists are to be distinguished from free-soilers, who opposed the extension of SLAVERY. The active campaign had its mainspring in the revival (1820s) in the North of evangelical religion, with its moral urgency to end sinful practices. It reached crusading stage in the 1830s, led by Theodore D. Weld, the brothers Arthur and Lewis Tappan, and William Lloyd GARRISON. The American Anti-Slavery Society, established in 1833, flooded the slave states with abolitionist literature and lobbied in Washington, D.C. Writers like J.G. WHITTIER and orators such as Wendell PHILLIPS lent strength to the cause. Despite unanimity on their goal, abolitionists were divided over the method of achieving it, Garrison advocating moral suasion, others direct political action. Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet B. STOWE, became an effective piece of abolitionist propaganda, and the KANSAS question aroused both North and South. The culminating act of abolitionism was John BROWN's raid on Harpers Ferry. Abolitionist demands for immediate freeing of the slaves after the outbreak of the CIVIL WAR resulted in Pres. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The abolitionist movement was one of high moral purpose and courage; its uncompromising temper hastened the demise of slavery in the U.S. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)

Theodore Weld's American Slavery As It Is (1839), which cataloged horror stories about slavery drawn entirely from accounts in the Southern press, was an instant best seller and touched a raw moral nerve in the country. Harriet Beecher Stowe, scion of America's most distinguished religious family, used Uncle Tom's Cabin, a sentimental novel with explicit Christian lessons, to rivet the nation's attention to the institutional evils of slavery.
Theodore Weld, reared in a strict Calvinistic manse, was a protege of Charles Finney and studied at Lane Seminary (at which Lyman Beecher was president), where he was part a group that styled itself the "Illuminati". Weld's early reform passions were for education and abolitionism. He became a women's rights advocate after his marriage to Angelina Grimke, a Quaker feminist. (The Welds helped promote reforms like "bloomers" — progressive women's attire in the 19th century). His book American Slavery sold 100,000 copies in its first year and, in becoming an anti-slavery classic, made Weld the nation's leading abolitionist spokesman. His wife, however, pursued a different track, latching onto the millennialism of William Miller, who predicted Christ's imminent return in 1843. The Welds eventually drifted into spiritualism, Swedenborgianism, and Transcendentalism. After struggling with a son's insanity and suicide, and trying his hand at organic vegetable farming and teaching at a Utopian commune, Weld finally became a Unitarian. His life personifies Ephesians 4:14. (31. On Weld, see Robert Abzug, Passionate Liberator: Theodore Dwight Weld and the Dilemma of Reform (N.Y. Oxford, 1980). Weld's heterodox tendencies evidently began early. After asking his preacher-father a series of challenging questions, the senior Weld told the boy: "Shut your mouth, you little infidel!" cited by Roger Schultz by Contra Mundum, No. 4 Summer 1992 Politics of Righteousness: Christian Political Movements in the Early 19th Century, http://www.wavefront.com/~contra_m/cm/features/cm04_politics.html)

Abolitionists were just as confused about the means they should use. Some endorsed immediate abolition, using violence if necessary. Others were committed to peaceful means and gradual emancipation. Some, such as the American Anti-Slavery Society, were simply committed to ending slavery. Still others, such as the American Colonization Society, driven by fears of post-emancipation racial tensions, wanted liberated slaves resettled in Africa. While some stressed abolition throughout the United States, others focused on preventing the spread of slavery into the territories. (Roger Schultz by Contra Mundum, No. 4 Summer 1992 Politics of Righteousness: Christian Political Movements in the Early 19th Century, http://www.wavefront.com/~contra_m/cm/features/cm04_politics.html)

During the 1830s, William Lloyd Garrison's violent condemnations of colonization as a slaveholder's plot to perpetuate slavery created deep hostility between abolitionists and colonizationists. (Library of Congress, African-American Mosaic, Colonization, http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam002.html)


The first division of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is completed May 24 to link Baltimore with Ellicott Mills, 13 miles away. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)


Smithsonian Report reads, "When (Adams) first takes seat in Congress he presents fifteen petitions signed numerously by citizens of Pennsylvania, praying for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia... That he had always cherished an abhorrence of slavery and a bitter antipathy to slave-holders as a class is sufficiently indicated by many chance remarks scattered through his Dairy and early years. (John T. Morse, jr., Book of John Quincy Adams, Mifflin, 1882) Commentary in study "John Quincy Adams was against the principle and practice of slavery therefore making it unlikely that he would have tolerated slaves at the Columbia Mills." (Cynthia Field 1998 Smithsonian Study)

John Quincy Adams was presented with fifteen petitions from citizens of Pennsylvania asking for the abolition of slavery and especially slavery in the District, "he did not think its abolition there desirable," and said, "he hoped the subject would not be discussed in the House." He thought that "the citizens of Pennsylvania ought not petition in regard to the matter in the District of Columbia. It would lead to ill-will, heart-burning and mutual hatred." (Tremain, Mary. Slavery in the District of Columbia. The Policy of Congress and the Struggle for Abolition. Nebraska State University, cited in Milburn, Page. The Emancipation of Slaves in the District of Columbia. Records of the Columbia Society, Vol. 16 page98-99)

John Quincy Adams came to the House in 1830 and presented antislavery petition that first year. He acted here only because his Massachusetts constituents asked him to do so. Initially, he thought no more of the abolitionists' work as Congressmen than he had as president. It could only bring the country "to ill-will. To heartburning mutual hatred without accomplishing anything else. (Nye, Fettered Freedom, 48 in Piano p 33) When petitions calling for abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia deluged Congress in 1836, however, Adams had to pick a side, Southerners again raised the stakes by pushing a gag rule through the House requiring the tabling of such petitions. (They were not printed, referred to committee, or debated.) While Jackson stood with the South, Adams stood with the abolitionists and eventually made even Negrophobes in the North see that slavery eroded everyone's civil liberties. He did so by demonstrating the price that the gag-rule advocates were demanding: To protect slavery every American had to suffer the right to petition their government, a right guaranteed in the Constitution's First Amendment. (Nixon's Piano: Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton, Kenneth O'Reilly, NY, Free Press 1995)


William Lloyd Garrison began abolitionist newspaper The Liberator. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1995 from MS Bookshelf)


Benjamin Lundy, a Quaker begins Washington’s first antislavery newspaper, The Genius of Universal Emancipation. (Melder, Keith, City of Magnificent Intentions. A History of the District of Columbia, 1983). Lundy and the Quaker abolitionists inspired more militant abolitionists like William Lloyd Garison, publisher of the of the Liberator. Garrison denounced both colonization and gradualism and called for immediate abolition. In 1833 founded the American Anti-Slavery Society. (From Events hat Changed American in the Nineteenth Century, edited by John E. Findling and Frank W. Thackeray.1997)

In the 1830s, those few Americans who actively sought to abolish slavery were treated as a lunatic fringe. As William Lee Miller points out in this often riveting story of the nation's first great political battle over the servitude of African-Americans, slavery was an interest, "concentrated, persistent, practical, and testily defensive," while antislavery was a mere sentiment, "diffuse, sporadic, moralistic and tentative." Spurred by the Christian evangelical fervor of the era, abolitionism was just beginning to coalesce from a set of privately held beliefs into a political movement that generated a growing stream of books, pamphlets-and petitions. (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian December, 1996)

In 1829 Garrison entered into partnership with the American antislavery agitator Benjamin Lundy to publish a monthly periodical, The Genius of Universal Emancipation, in Baltimore, Maryland. Lundy believed in gradual emancipation, and Garrison at first shared his views; but he soon became convinced that immediate and complete emancipation was necessary. Because Baltimore was then a center of the domestic slave trade in the U.S., Garrison's eloquent denunciations of the trade aroused great animosity. A slave trader sued him for libel; he was fined, and, lacking funds to pay the fine, was jailed. After his release from prison Garrison dissolved his partnership with Lundy and returned to New England. In partnership with another American abolitionist, Isaac Knapp, Garrison launched The Liberator in Boston in 1831; the newspaper became one of the most influential journals in the United States. (Garrison, William Lloyd," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.)


The Liberator begins publication January 1 at Boston where local abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, 26, advocates emancipation of the slaves who account for nearly one-third of the U.S. population. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)


Virginia, Thomas Dew, a legislator, proudly refers to Virginia as a Negro-raising state" for other states. Between 1830 and 1860, Virginia exports some 300,000 slaves. The price of slaves increases sharply due to expanding territory in which slaves are permitted and a booming economy in products harvested and processed by slave labor. (The Negro Almanac a reference work on the Afro American, compiled and edited by harry A Ploski, and Warren Marr, II. Third Edition 1978 Bellwether Publishing)

1831/08 Nat Turner slave rebellion in Southampton county Virginia

Turner, Nat, 1800–1831, African-American slave and revolutionary; b. Southampton co., Va. Believing himself divinely appointed to lead his fellow slaves to freedom, he commanded about 60 followers in a revolt (1831) that killed 55 whites. Although the so-called Southampton Insurrection was quickly crushed and Turner was caught and hanged six weeks later, it was the most serious uprising in the history of U.S. slavery and virtually ended the organized abolition movement in the South. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.) For the extraordinary transcript of Nat Turners Testimony see excerpts from Nat Turner's Trial http://vi.uh.edu/pages/mintz/32.htm also see http://www.melanet.com/nat/nat.html and http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1826-1850/slavery/confesxx.htm)

Nat Turner revolt, Southampton County, Va., August 21-22. Some 60 whites were killed. Nat Turner was not captured until October 30. Nat Turner was hanged, Jerusalem, Va., Nov. 11. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower, http://www.afroam.org/history/slavery/revolts.html)

The bloodiest insurrection of all, in which some sixty whites were murdered, occurred in Southampton County, Virginia, in August, 1831. Nat Turner, its leader, besides being a skilled carpenter, was a literate, mystical preacher. He had discovered particular relevance in the prophets of the Old Testament. Besides identifying with the slave experience of the Israelites, Turner and other slaves felt that the social righteousness which the prophets preached related directly to their situation. The picture of the Lord exercising vengeance against the oppressors gave them hope and inspiration. While the Bible did appear to tell the slave to be faithful and obedient to his master, it also condemned the wicked and provided examples that could be interpreted to prove God's willingness to use human instruments in order to bring justice against oppressors. Turner's growing hatred of slavery and his increasing concern for the plight of his brothers, led him to believe he was one of God's chosen instruments. As his conviction deepened, the solar eclipse early in 1831 appeared to him to be a sign that the day of vengeance was at hand. In the following months he collected a small band of followers, and in August they went into action. Unlike Prosser and Vesey, he began with only a very small band which lessened his chance of betrayal. As they moved from farm to farm, slaughtering the white inhabitants, they were joined by many of the slaves who were freed in the process. However, word of the massacre spread. At one farm, they were met by armed resistance. Slaves as well as masters fought fiercely to stop the attack. Some of Turner's men were killed and wounded, and the planned drive towards Jerusalem was thrown off stride. This enabled the militia to arrive and break up the attack. In due time Turner and several of his followers were captured and executed. White men in both the South and the North saw little similarity between these insurrections and the American Revolution. The Turner massacre was universally depicted as the work of savages and brutes, not of men. Vigilance was tightened, and new laws controlling the slaves were passed throughout the South. Both the violence of the slaves and the verbal abuse of the abolitionists only served to strengthen the South in its defense of the peculiar institution. Slaves who revolted were depicted as beasts who could not be freed because they would endanger society. Submissive slaves were pictured as children in need of paternal protection from the evils of a complex, modern world. They were never seen as men whose rights and liberties had been proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, Slave Insurrections. http://www.rit.edu/~nrcgsh/bx/bx04b.html)

The Washington City Council reacted by making the Black Codes harsher: A black man who struck a white person was now subject to having his ears cut off. (P 82 Melder, Keith. Slaves and Freedmen Wilson Quarterly 1989 13(1) 77-83)

The corporation of Georgetown enact an ordinance for the regulation including the offense of the possession of abolitionist information including the Liberator. (p142 Bryan, Wilhelmus Bogart. The History of the National Capital. Vol. II 1815-1878. Macmillan 1916 GW lib)

The slave insurrection in cased a bitter reaction in Maryland. The Maryland General Assembly took up the policy of colonization free blacks in Liberia in legislation passed that autumn of 1831, providing an annual appropriation to the Maryland State Colonization Society. At the same time, the Assembly prohibited any further importation of slaves into the state. There was already a statute on the books prohibiting free blacks from other states settling in Maryland. This act of 1807 was given more serious penalties in 1831, and made still more stringent in 1839. The District of Columbia afforded a loophole in the law until 1845, when, on complaint of Montgomery and Prince George's residents, a special act was passed to forbid blacks from crossing the District line to settle. (Jeffrey R. Brackett, The Negro in Maryland, A Study of the Institution of Slavery (New York, reprint by Negro University Press, 1969 and James M. Wright, The Free Negro in Maryland 1634-1860, NY, Octagon Books 1971, reprint of 1921 ed. Cited in Richard K MacMaster and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976 p 156-157)
The Maryland General Assembly forbid free black citizens to buy liquor, own guns, sell food without a license, or even attend religious meetings if there wee no whites present. This last provision struck a crippling blow a the independent black church, the only real institution that the black community had been able to develop during its enslavement. (Lawrence H. McDonald, "Failure of the Great Reaction in Maryland" Ph.D. dissertation, University of Maryland, 1974), Appendix VI, cited in Richard K McAlester and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976 p 157)

Maryland further discouraged slave owners from manumitting their slaves by requiring them to send the free person out of the state. (Richard K MacMaster and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976 p 157)

The Maryland State Colonization Society established a settlement at Cape Palmas, some miles south of the major Liberian colony at Monrovia. It made a determined effort to recruit free black settlers from Maryland. Black Marylanders identified the colonization movement with a desire to remove the free blacks from the state lest they encourage restiveness among the slaves. They saw it generally committed to the preservation of slavery and inequality of free black citizens. Very few Marylanders were willing to leave their homes for n uncertain future in Africa. (Richard K MacMaster and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976. P 157)

With regard to the Nat Turner revolt, "It is difficult to decide with certainty whether it occurred as a reaction to the harshness of slave rule or as a result of the weakness of control." (Michael Craton, Sinews of Empire, A Short History of British Slavery, Anchor Books NY., 1974 p 227

Turner, Nat b. Oct. 2, 1800, Southampton county, Va., U.S. — d. Nov. 11, 1831, Jerusalem, Va.), black American bondsman who led the only effective, sustained slave revolt (August 1831) in U.S. history. Spreading terror throughout the white South, his action set off a new wave of oppressive legislation prohibiting the education, movement, and assembly of slaves and stiffened proslavery, antiabolitionist convictions that persisted in that region until the American Civil War (1861-65). (On-Line African American History Reference)

Nat Turner's rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in the summer of 1831, threw the slaveholding South into a panic, and into a determined effort to bolster the security of the slave system. Turner, claiming religious visions, gathered about seventy slaves who went on a rampage from plantation to plantation, murdering at least fifty-five men, women, and children. They gathered supporters but were captured as their ammunition ran out. Turner and perhaps eighteen others were hanged. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower, http://www.afroam.org/history/slavery/revolts.html)

Soon after the Nat Turner Rebellion, the General Assembly of Virginia, convened in 1831 to hear Governor John Floyd's annual message, which urged the Assembly to address the current crisis so as to quell the fears of the citizens and to restore order and safety to the Commonwealth. His address called for funds for the removal of free blacks from Virginia and for the houses to discuss what further action should be taken. As a result of Governor Floyd's address, a special committee was formed by the speaker of the House of Delegates to discuss the revolt of the past summer and present the house with possible solutions to the problem. The first week of the assembly saw numerous proposals for the colonization of free blacks and on December 14, William Henry Roane of Hanover presented a petition from the Society of Friends which proposed the abolition of slavery through the gradual colonization of slave in Africa. This proposal sparked intense debate between the members of the house and divided Tidewater delegates and those from the heavily agricultural "southside" of the James River. On January 11, 1832, Piedmont Delegate William O. Goode, a southsider, argued that debate on emancipation placed all of Virginia in grave danger because of the threat posed by blacks watching the actions of the Assembly. He proposed a resolution to table discussion for the safety of the Commonwealth. A counter-resolution was proposed by western Piedmont delegate Thomas Jefferson Randolph proposing a state-wide referendum on gradual emancipation so that the people of Virginia could decide the issue rather than the members of the Assembly, who held a disproportionate stake in the institution of slavery. If the majority of the citizens were for abolition, the process would begin with all slaves born on or after July 4, 1840, becoming the property of the Commonwealth. They would be hired out by the state until enough money had been raised to provide for their removal from the country. The session closed with the passage of a statement supporting the exploration of possible colonizing of slaves. That mood would change by the next fall, a result in large part of the essay on slavery published by William and Mary professor Thomas R. Dew at the close of the 1831-32 session. (Corey McLellan, The Debate in the 1831-32 Virginia General Assembly on the Abolition of Slavery, The University of Virginia.)

Dew attacked the plan, which called for all slaves to become property of the Virginia Commonwealth after July 4, 1840 – males at twenty-one, females at eighteen. This proposal, according to Dew, was a violation of property rights to slave owners and could never be accomplished because of the expense involved. Dew went on to the Biblical argument for slavery. He emphasized that nowhere does Scripture tag slavery as a sin, and that there is no command to abolish it. From the Biblical argument for slavery, Dew moved on to the historical one, pointing that slavery had existed continuously since the beginnings of recorded human history. Dew's arguments were the key factor in closing the door to emancipation in Virginia until the Civil War. (Thomas Dew's Review of the Debate in the Virginia Legislature of 1831-1832 http://www.people.virginia.edu/~cwm3a/dewrv.html)


At a dinner in Boston, Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French magistrate who would go back home to write his classic book "Democracy in America," was seated next to former President John Quincy Adams and asked the old man: "Do you look on slavery as a great plague for the United States?" "Yes, certainly," Adams answered. "That is the root of almost all the troubles of the present and the fears for the future." ("Black justice, white cynicism," Byline: Richard Reeves; Universal Press Syndicate in The Baltimore Sun, October 5, 1995)


John Quincy Adams became a member of the First session of the twenty second Congress of the House of Representative from a district in Massachusetts.

Adams returns to Washington. "The issue of slavery was not, at this time, neatly defined and categorized in the minds of Louisa and John Quincy Adams, they did not abhor it with all their souls, as the abolitionists did. Nor were they ready to commit themselves without hesitation to its demise. "The Adams’s, as residents of Washington, saw slaves around them all the time. There were few free blacks, and it was common practice for householders to employ slaves as servants; a few lucky and hard-working slaves were even allowed to buy their own freedom in this manner. While the Adams’s never owned a slave, they frequently hired one or two from slaveholders, usually residents of Maryland or Virginia, as cooks or house servants. Such employment did not conflict, as we shall see with Louisa's or John Quincy’s position on slavery (337) Louisa, as a resident of Washington with relatives in Maryland, feared retribution of the slaves, and the surliness of the free blacks. Adams put the preservation of the union before slavery. (Shepherd, Jack; Cannibals of the Heart, 1980)


At the start of each session of Congress, on Petition Days, the number of "prayers" to ban slavery in the nation's capital had been increasing since William Lloyd Garrison launched his abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, in 1831. That event coincided with the bloody Nat Turner slave rebellion in Virginia and the introduction of the steam printing press in New York City, where abolitionists began to print thousands of antislavery tracts and mail them South for distribution. Southern postmasters, prompted by pre-Ku Klux Klan vigilantes, began seizing and burning abolitionist material, and death threats were made against abolitionist visitors to the South. (Willard Sterne Randall, Newsday, January 28, 1996, p 33)


In the United States, the notion that slavery was God's will gained momentum after the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831. In hundreds of pamphlets, written from 1836 to 1866, Southern slaveholders were provided a host of religious reasons to justify the social caste system they had created. In their quest to justify black slavery, Southerners looked to the story of Noah's curse over his son Ham. According to Genesis 9, Noah planted a vineyard, drank too much wine and lay naked in his tent. When he awoke, Noah learned that his son Ham had seen him naked — a shame in the ancient world. He cursed Ham and his son, Canaan, saying, "lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers," 9:25. Since Canaan and his descendants were said to settle Africa, some believed African-Americans therefore were destined to be slaves. According to Dale Martin, a professor of religion at Duke University. (Bible neither condemns nor condones slavery, News & Observer on the Web, Raleigh NC: August 9th 1996, < http://www.news-observer.com/go/religion/faith/archive/080996.html>)


B & O Railroad between Georgetown and the Ellicott Mills running and generating modest income. (Walsh, Richard and Fox, William Lloyd. Maryland, A History 1632-1974. Maryland Historical Society)


In January of 1832, while President Andrew Jackson was dining with friends at the White House, someone whispered to him that the Senate had rejected the nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to England. Jackson jumped to his feet and exclaimed, "By the Eternal! I'll smash them!" So he did. His favorite, Van Buren, became Vice President, and succeeded to the Presidency when "Old Hickory" retired to the Hermitage, where he died in June 1845. (Andrew Jackson White House Bio. http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/glimpse/presidents/html/aj7.html)


In the wake of the Nat Turner’s insurrection in Virginia, Georgetown strengthened its black code punishing with particular severity any person of color possessing abolitionist literature. (Slavery and the Slave Trade in the District of Columbia, The Negro History Bulletin, Oct 1950, Springharm Library, Howard University Vertical File Washington, DC)


Louisiana presents resolution requesting Federal Government to arrange with Mexico to permit runaway slaves from Louisiana to be claimed when found on foreign soil. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service, http://www.cr.nps.gov/htdocs1/boaf/urrtim~1.htm)


An act to abolish slavery was introduced into the Virginia legislature by Thomas Jefferson’s grandson and was defeated by only seven votes. ("Virginia," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)


Jackson reelected will serve till Mar 1833 and Martin Van Buren , 1833-37.In 1832 the Anti-Masonic Party nominated a lawyer, William Wirt, as its candidate for the presidency, but he was defeated by Andrew Jackson, who supported Masonry. Ironically, Wirt himself was a Mason. After that date the Freemasons encountered little political opposition in the U.S. or elsewhere, until the rise to power of the National Socialists in Germany in 1933.
Opponents of Freemasonry, including sections of the press, churches, and antislavery elements, joined in the condemnation of the order. Thurlow Weed, publisher of the Rochester (New York) Telegraph and later of the Anti-Masonic Enquirer, led the press attack on Freemasonry and endorsed anti-Masonic candidates for New York State offices in the election of 1827. When 15 of these candidates were elected to the state Assembly, an Anti-Masonic Party was formed and in 1828 held its first state convention. National conventions were held in Philadelphia in 1830 and in Baltimore in 1831. At the latter, William Wirt, who had served as U.S. attorney general under Presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, was nominated for president in opposition to Andrew Jackson, who supported Masonry. Wirt himself was a Freemason. The convention required a three-fourths majority to nominate, thereby setting a precedent for the two-thirds rule used by the Democrats in subsequent national conventions for more than 100 years. In the 1832 elections, however, the Anti-Masonic Party carried only the state of Vermont. It did win a considerable number of seats in the 23rd Congress (1833-35). The party survived until about 1834, when several prominent leaders founded the Whig Party or shifted to the Democratic Party. (Anti-Masonic Party," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. 1993-1997)


Parliament orders abolition of slavery in the British colonies by August 1, 1834, in a bill passed August 23 after a long campaign by the humanitarian William Wilberforce who has died July 29 at age 73. Children under 6 are to be freed immediately, slaves over 6 given a period of apprenticeship that will be eliminated in 1837, slave-owners given a total of 120 million in compensation. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)


U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia petitioned the House Committee on the District of Columbia regarding a bill of $1,500 for housing runaway "Negroes" in the public jail 23A-G4.4. (Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives RECORDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COMMITTEE 10TH-45TH CONGRESSES 1807-79 (http://www.nara.gov/nara/legislative/house_guide/hgch08b.html)


Workers along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal stage a riot January 29. President Jackson orders Secretary of War Lewis Cass to send in the Army, using federal troops for the first time in a U.S. labor conflict. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)


"A Colonization minded parson investigating a slave depot in Washington in 1835 consciously recorded that the premises were as clean and orderly as those of the District's penitentiary, which he had visited a few days before, but "the situation of the convicts at the penitentiary was far less deplorable than that of these slaves. Confined for the crime of being descended from ancestors who were forcibly reduced to bondage." (J.C. Furnas, Goodbye to Uncle Tom, William Sloane Associates, NY, 1956 p69)


Riots touched off by discovery of abolitionist literature among specimens of Dr. Reuben Crandall a botanist when an angry crowd of Navy Yard workers descend on the Washington County Jail where he was held. The mob was coursed out by a free Negro Beverly Snow who said some derogatory things about their wives. The crowd immediately surged towards Snow's tavern and, although they failed to lay their hands on Snow himself, they proceeded to wreck his establishment. Riots lasted for two days and three nights, smashing the windows of Negro churches and school, and homes. Drastic legislation would follow restricting the rights of free Negroes. (Dorothy Sproles Provine, The Free Negro In the District of Columbia 1800-1860, Thesis Louisiana State University Department of History, 1959, 1963)

In 1835 a slave reputedly attempted to murder Mrs. William Thornton, the widow of the architect of the Capitol, and passions were inflamed because it was thought that this abortive action was inspired by abolitionist sentiments. The resulting mob behavior was intended to intimidate free Negroes in the city. A Negro school and some tenements were destroyed, churches were attacked, and the furnishings were smashed in the fashionable Beverly Snow restaurant owned by a free Negro of that name.

The upheaval became known as the "Snow Riot" and was followed by restrictive legislation in 1836 designed to limit the right of the free Negroes to perform work other than "drive carts, drays, hackney carriages or wagons." There were no longer to operate restaurants, for example, a major outlet of work for the more enterprising blacks. The intent of the legislation was to reduce free Negroes to servile status. (G. Franklin Edwards and Michael R. Winston, Commentary: The Washington of Paul Jennings—White House Slave, Free Man, and Conspirator for Freedom. White House Historical Association. http://www.whitehousehistory.org/whha/news_reminiscence.asp)

Snow Riot leads to formation of National Guard and Washington Light Infantry Company. By 1838, citizen patrols established. (Wilkelmus Bogart Bryan, A History of the National Capital from its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act, (NY: Macmillan Co. 1916, II 147-148. Cited by Dolores T. Williams, Preliminary Checklist of Non-Official Imprints for the District of Columbia, 1836-37, with a Historical Introduction)

Between the 1820s and 1840s mob violence in the North and West came to be identified with lower class white attacks, fueled by racism and economic competition, on the increasingly visible urban black community. As blacks began organizing in earnest to claim their rights as Americans, white mob violence was used to restrict their ability to make political statements in the public sphere. Old traditions like Election Day and Pinkster celebrations were banned, black parades were frequent targets of mob attacks, and the representation of black culture in public was largely controlled by whites in blackface perpetuating the degrading stereotypes of the minstrel show. (James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton. _In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860_. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Reviewed for H-SHEAR by Mitch Kachun, in SLAVERY@LISTSERV.UH.EDU Thu, 21 May 1998)


Congressman John Fairfield of York County, Maine, stood up on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and presented a petition signed by 172 women calling for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. (Willard Sterne Randall, Newsday, January 28, 1996, p 33)


Seminoles and their African Americans massacre a 103-man U.S. Army force under Major Francis L. Dade in Florida. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)

An examination of Alexis de Tocqueville's thesis on the march of Russia and the United States to manifest destiny in the first half of the 19th century. Assesses first the impact of the age of democratic revolution, comparing the false images of President Andrew Jackson and Czar Nicholas I. Goes on to discuss abolitionism (of Negro slavery and serfdom) and expansionism (the Monroe Doctrine and Russophobia in Eastern Europe and Central Asia). Urbanization and the industrial revolution in the United States, and the growth of cultural maturity in Russia, were significant developments which limit the extent to which one can compare the experiences of these two emergent nations. Based on the author's forthcoming book, The Emergence of the Super-Powers; illus. (Dukes, Paul. TWO GREAT NATIONS, 1815-50. Journal citation: History Today [Great Britain] 1970 20(2): 94-106.)


[In Washington, DC], To prove they were free, blacks had to carry identity papers. Free blacks needed permission to have a meeting or party in their house. They could not go on the streets after 10 p.m. without a pass. In 1836, the city, by denying licenses to blacks, tried to run them out of most businesses. (Bob Arnebeck A Shameful Heritage, Washington Post Magazine January 18, 1889, also see Washington Ordinances of October 29, 1836 and November 9, 1836


In Virginia, a slave manumitted after 1836 had to obtain the permission of county court to remain legally in the state for more than a year after his manumission. Until the mid-1850's, the Fairfax court routinely permitted reputable, newly emancipated slaves to remain in the county. But in 1855 when Lewis Casey, a "free man of color' who had been recently manumitted by will and was known to be "honest, sober and industrious," petitioned the court for permission to remain, the justices refused. It was, they declared, "impolitic to encourage any larger increase in this class of our population." By the 1850s, the Virginia legislature, angered by Northern demands for the immediate abolition of slavery, was prepared to make the black code even harsher. One or two Virginia governors advocated that all free blacks be forcibly expelled from the state. Though the Assembly refused to accede to the governors' requests, it provided for the voluntary enslavement of free blacks, made it illegal for free blacks to purchase slaves, authorized the sale into slavery of free blacks convicted of certain crimes, and enacted legislation which made the escape of slaves more difficult. (Fairfax County, Virginia a History. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax, Virginia, 1978 p 273)


In an effort to suppress the still feeble antislavery forces, Southern Congressmen proposed what was, in effect, an intellectual blockade. They urged federal authorities to allow states to censor literature that they deemed "incendiary," including not only abolitionist broadsides but also a wide range of general magazines, Northern newspapers and religious journals that only occasionally mentioned slavery. Postmasters were encouraged to monitor citizens' mail and remove anything that they deemed related to abolitionism. All petitions to Congress on the subject of slavery were to be automatically tabled, without being printed or referred to in any way. (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian December, 1996)

"When Adams idly presented his colleagues with another anti-slavery petition, a Georgian congressman rose to move that the list of signatures not be accepted. Some months later the notorious "gag rule" was put into effect, forbidding the further admission of such petitions to Congress. It would prove one of the more maladroit instances of Southern intransigence.

"Where Adams had hitherto been a mild thorn in the side of the slave forces, he now became "old Man Eloquent," challenging the gag rule and slavery with a fanatical devotion that knew no pause. Moreover, the spectacle of a former president standing alone, unswayable and unyielding was not without its political psychodrama. Men who had no fixed opinion on slavery could not help but be moved by the struggle of wills between one old man and the whole Southern delegation." (Tom Dowling, Washington Star, Great Drama in Saving the Nation, October 6, 1976)

More shocking still, a gag rule imposed by Southerners and their Northern Democrat allies forbade members to discuss the subject of slavery upon the floor of Congress, under threat of censure. Not only was the enslaved black person denied every freedom but now the white person was even to be denied the freedom to talk about it. The hero of Miller's story is John Quincy Adams, the only former President in American history to later be elected to Congress, where he served with distinction for 17 years. Steeped from childhood in the hardheaded New England idealism of the Revolutionary era, Adams not only deplored slavery in principle, as many of his contemporaries did, but went far beyond most of them in condemning racial prejudice, which, as he put it, "taints the very sources of moral principle" by establishing "false estimates of virtue and vice." (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian, December, 1996)

Beginning in 1836, and for nearly a decade, Adams relentlessly fought the gag rule, struggling to make white citizens see that the South's determination to protect slavery at all costs represented an assault upon their own treasured rights. It was a lonely and humiliating battle, almost without allies. Although a vigorous septuagenarian, Adams was openly scorned as a dotard by his enemies. He was at least twice threatened with assassination. At one point, the ex-President was nearly censured for daring to attempt to submit what his colleagues believed was a petition from a group of Maryland slaves. "Had anyone, before today, ever dreamed that the appellation of the people' embraced slaves?" demanded Aaron Vanderpoel, an influential New York Democrat and frequent apologist for slavery. (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian December, 1996)

"All petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions or papers relating in any way or to any extent whatsoever to the subject of slavery shall, without either being printed or referred, be laid on the table and that no further action whatever shall be had thereon."


Congress passes a resolution, stating that it has no authority over state slavery laws. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)


Anti-Masonic leaders joined the new Whig Party(Vermont," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. 1993-1997)


President Jackson issues his Specie Circular. The circular lays down that future purchases of government land must be paid in gold or silver, or their strict equivalent, rather than in local notes or promises to pay. This has the effect of swelling the US government's coffers with specie. p 479 (A Comparative Chronology of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day, 1830 – 1849, Based on the book: A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day by Glyn Davies, rev. ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996. 716p.ISBN 0 7083 1351 5. http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/amser/chrono11.html)


Congress enacts a gag law to suppress debate on the slavery issue. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)


Country suffers severe depression. (Stefan Lorant, The Presidency, NY Macmillan, 1951, page 148-150. Cited by Cited by Dolores T. Williams, Preliminary Checklist of Non-Official Imprints for the District of Columbia, 1836-37, with a Historical Introduction)


US banking crisis. The uncontrolled, chaotic expansion of banking in the US is slowed, then partly reversed by a financial crisis in which every bank is forced to suspend specie payment of notes. The crisis leads to a depression in the economy which lasts until 1843. p 480,483-484 (A Comparative Chronology of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day, 1830 – 1849, Based on the book: A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day by Glyn Davies, rev. ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996. 716p. ISBN 0 7083 1351 5. http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/amser/chrono11.html)


Martin Van Buren becomes President as Democrat. VP is Richard M. Johnson


Martin Van Buren's Presidential Inaugural Address deals with Slavery in the District of Columbia, "Fellow-Citizens: I then declared that if the desire of those of my countrymen who were favorable to my election was gratified. I must go into the Presidential chair the inflexible and uncompromising opponent of every attempt on the part of Congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia against the wishes of the slaveholding States, and also with a determination equally decided to resist the slightest interference with it in the States where it exists. I submitted also to my fellow-citizens, with fullness and frankness, the reasons which led me to this determination."

Two weeks after Van Buren`s inauguration a financial panic struck the New York commercial and financial community. Years earlier, Jackson decentralized the national bank, which allowed many state and local banks to engage in land and profit speculation. This speculation continued throughout Jackson`s final four years in office and into Van Buren`s administration. However, in 1837, the wild speculation ended, and a panic concerning the stability of the financial markets, the banks, and even in the government, spread across the nation. These fears caused a wide spread recession, ultimately ending in a depression, to engulf the nation. (The Depression of 1837; Economic Issues, http://www.ripon.edu/dept/pogo/presidency/Vanburen/m.vanburen.deprs.html)


Victorian Style, trends in British architecture and furniture in the Victorian era (1837-1901). An especially widespread tendency, called Eclectic Revivalism, was to adapt earlier styles to industrial-age needs... (Encarta 98 Desk Encyclopedia Microsoft Corporation.)


The "underground railway" organized by U.S. abolitionists transports southern slaves to freedom in Canada, but slaving interests at Philadelphia work on the fears of Irish immigrants and other working people who worry that freed slaves may take their jobs. A Philadelphia mob burns down Pennsylvania Hall May 17 in an effort to thwart antislavery meetings. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)


Frederick Douglas escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Sept. 3. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower, http://www.afroam.org/history/slavery/revolts.html)


The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal started in 1828 reaches 134 miles west of Georgetown but runs into financial difficulties (see 1850). (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)


William Grason Governor of Md. (MD info from Maryland A Chronology & Documentary Handbook, 1978 Oceana Publications, Inc.)


Roughly a 30 per cent of the inhabitants of the District of Columbia were Negroes. (Letitia W Brown, Residence Patterns of Negroes in the District of Columbia, 1800-1860, Records of the Columbia Historical Society of Washington DC, 1969-70, p68)


The World’s Anti-Slavery Convention opens at London, but Boston abolitionist William Garrison refuses to attend, protesting the exclusion of women (see 1831). The U.S. antislavery movement has split into two factions in the past year largely because of Garrison’s advocacy of women’s rights, including their right to participate in the antislavery movement (see first Women’s Rights Convention, 1848). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)

.At the World's Anti-slavery Convention, African American Charles Remond refused to be seated when he learned that women were being segregated in the gallery (Denise Pazur, The Plain Dealer, Jan 31, 1993, page 8)


United States Census pages for President Van Buran and Congressperson John Q. Adams missing (DC Census 1840 Roll 35 page 5 microprint 0006)


1619 - 17891790 - 17991800 - 18291841 - End

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