Alfred Brophy, “Debating Slavery and Freedom at Washington College 1831-1861”

Alfred Brophy, “Debating Slavery and Freedom at Washington College 1831-1861”


All right, good afternoon. It’s nice to see so many visitors here today. My name is Brant Hellwig, I’m a member of the faculty here at Washington and Lee Law School, and I also have the privilege of serving as the school’s dean. And it gives me great pleasure to welcome my friend and colleague in the legal academy, Alfred Brophy back to Lexington. Professor Brophy is a member of the law school faculty at the University of Alabama, where he holds the D. Paul Jones chaired professorship. He has a broad array of scholarly interests, writing in traditional fields of property and trusts, and estates, while also exploring issues of race in colonial, antebellum, and early 20th century America. His publication record is far too extensive to detail, but I’ll highlight just a few of his books, to provide a flavor of his research interests and expertise. In 2002, Professor Brophy published a book entitled Reconstructing the Dream Land, the Tulsa Riot of 1921, Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation, with Oxford University Press. In 2006 Reparations Pro and Con also with Oxford University Press, and just last year, and relevant to the topic of his lecture this afternoon, Professor Brophy published his monograph, University, Court, and Slave proslavery Thought in Southern Colleges and Courts and the Coming of Civil War. also with Oxford University Press, and so he’s really had a pretty good run with that fly-by-night publication shop. (laughing) The topic of Professor Brophy’s lecture today, Debating Slavery and Freedom at Washington College 1831 to 1861, grew out of an invitation to deliver the Hendrix lecture on law and history here at Washington and Lee in the fall of 2011. Professor Brophy conducted extensive research in our university archives, examining inaugural addresses, commencement speeches, as well as the topics and voting outcomes. We might not have the text of the debates, but topics and voting outcomes of debates among student literary societies. All with a goal of reconstructing the prevailing views of slavery, abolition and union, that prevailed at Washington College leading up to the Civil War. Professor Brophy’s findings are remarkably interesting, and while institutional positions shifted over this period, as he will discuss, I think all of us at Washington and Lee should take heart in the degree to which our predecessors at Washington College were deeply engaged in the most pressing social issues of the time, and indeed on some of the most pressing social issues in our nation’s history. When President Dudley announced the formation of the commission on institutional history and community a few weeks ago, one that would be accompanied by a year long speaker series, examining education and history at Washington and Lee, I immediately thought of Al’s work in this area. And although Al has spoken on this topic on a few occasions here, I believe his research is of particular benefit to our law school and to our university right now. So, I’m extremely grateful that Al was willing to return to Lexington on fairly short notice to lecture on this topic once again, and frankly I hope it won’t be the last time. Maybe we can just put you on a regular two year rotation. That would be fantastic, but would you please join me in welcoming Al Brophy back to Washington and Lee. (audience applauds) All right, thank you very much. Well, thanks so much for your invitation. It’s great to be here. Thank you, Dean Hellwig, and I’ve so appreciative of the great work that y’all have been doing, Provost Elizabeth Knapp, Professor Ted DeLaney, Professor Murchison, among so many others, to recover an understanding of this university’s history and connections to slavery, and I think we can see in the discussion of history here, the world in a grain of sand. We can use Washington College, now Washington University’s history over this time to understand our nation’s journey toward civil war, and the abolition of slavery. But, I wanna begin by talking today about an event that happened in 1831 across the Blue Ridge Mountains, down toward Norfolk. In August of 1831 the Nat Turner Rebellion set off a discussion within the State of Virginia, and nationally, about the future of the institution of slavery in the United States. It was a scene of extraordinary violence in August of 1831. About 70 white people were killed in this very short lived rebellion. And there was a lot of violence in the aftermath in which, dozens, or perhaps more, enslaved people were killed as part of putting down the rebellion, and then following the trials afterwards. One slave was executed and his head was put on a pole as a warning to others along the New Jerusalem Road, to try and stop further rebellion. And to this day, the place where that happened is called Blackhead Signpost Road. But, there were repercussions well outside of South Hampton where the rebellion was located. Here in Lexington a number of white citizens thought that slaves who had once been owned by John Robinson, and then at that point were owned by Washington College, might be getting insurectiony, and that lead to an investigation of what was going on at Harts Bottom Plantation, and eventually the folks in Lexington were satisfied that there was no rebellion afoot here. But, the repercussions continued in Richmond, Virginia, where in the spring of 1832 the general assembly began to debate the question about whether there should be further action taken to end the institution of slavery in Virginia. The debate fell along fairly understandable geographic lines, people in the areas where heavily enslaved populations in Virginia, along the Tidewater and Piedmont, their legislators largely supported the institution of slavery and not taking further action to terminate, or even discuss, termination of slavery. Whereas people in the Shenandoah Valley, and what’s now West Virginia, fairly routinely supported the discussion of abolition, or at least gradual termination of slavery. And so what you had in this debate in the general assembly in the spring of 1832 was a sort of division. The people supporting slavery spoke about the importance of property rights, how property existed before society, and was a sort of a necessary ligament holding society together, and they were opposed by people like James M’Dowell who lived in Coalton, in Lexington, who spoke robustly and eloquently about the natural rights of people to freedom, and about the dangers of owning human beings, and the danger of slave rebellion, as well as economic problems with the institution of slavery. So, you have in Lexington, in 1831 and 1832 politicians who are robustly speaking against slavery. At the same time, you have politicians from the Tidewater and Piedmont areas who are robustly arguing in favor of property. I wanna begin to turn, and so, about 1831 is sort of a turning point, and then you get to 1835 which was the year that antislavery advocates in the north began to aggressively paper the country with antislavery literature. And so the country was shifting, and by 1837 you had James M’Dowell, who had in 1832 argued against slavery in the Virginia Assembly, appearing at Princeton University and giving a speech criticizing antislavery advocates, and arguing in favor of slavery. Charles Bodie, who is a resident of Lexington, is working on a really terrific biography about M’Dowell and traces out this sort of shift from antislavery advocate to proslavery advocate. Let me shift the story, though, now, to Washington College. And here I want to focus on, there are two people in particular I wanna focus on. Both of them are presidents of Washington College. My first subject here is Henry Ruffner who became president in 1837. He’d been on the faculty since 1819. But, I wanna put into a little bit of context Ruffner’s thoughts by talking about, not just slavery, but just sort of other views of, ideas about constitutionalism, and union. Ruffner was a Whig, which is the forerunner of the Republican Party, it’s what we would now. And he was in opposition to the Democrats, the forerunner of obviously the Democratic Party now, of whom Andrew Jackson is probably the best known representative. And so Ruffner and other Whigs, had a particular vision or critique of Democrats, and the critique was that they seemed to be unconstrained by law. They made judgements based on power, rather than law. This is the critique we see of Andrew Jackson in particular, they criticized Jackson’s Native America removal, they criticized, sort of, mob violence the burning of the Charleston Convent, which was obviously anti-Catholic riot, and then mob violence against African Americans. And they were unhappy with what they saw as a legislature and courts taking away of private property, or diminishing private property rights. So, that is sort of, and went along with that sort of general ideas about Whigism, and critique of Democrats, was also the idea that we should have a union that promoted economy, economic development was a central tenant of Whig thought. And I think you can see this also in the landscape art of this era, this is one of the most famous 19th Century American landscape, works of landscape art, it’s called Progress, it was done by Asher Durand, in 1853, at the request of a railroad executive in Maryland. This was, until fairly recently, owned by the distinguished Washington and Lee alumnus Jack Warner. What you can see, and there’s may ways you can think about this landscape. You often read pictures left to right, so on the left is earlier and on the right is later. And on the left, if you’re up close, you can see the Native Americans looking on in awe and reverence at the great civilization, at the civilization created by the great white man. That is how this picture is sort of set up. And then you see, as you sort of move to the right, you see signs of sort of increasing development. Railroads, canals, telegraph wires, cattle being brought to the market, churches, all manner of sort of, steamboats, all manner of sort of economic development. And again, those are these sorts of ideas of economic development as created by union are central to Whig thought. And we see this also in the painting, in a print, made by the daughter of one of Washington College’s presidents, Margaret Junkin Preston, and this is a scene from along the James River in Buckingham County called Mount Ida. So, again, sort of images of the way in which humans improved upon nature brought civilization through human efforts, and by sort of building on the landscape. That’s my, sort of, general introduction to Whig thought, and of antislavery thought was a piece of that as well. Now let me turn to, but unfortunately, the university, the college, relied on slave labor, and that’s also an important piece of this story. And let me turn to the human connections to slavery on this campus. What’s central to this are the 70 plus human beings who were bequeathed to the university by John Robinson’s will written in 1825, he died in 1826. What he did was left both his plantation and humans to the university with the idea that the humans could not be sold for 50 years. That was the restriction. And maybe he thought when he was writing this in 1825, that slavery would end in the next 50 years, and if he thought that he was correct. So, we have his will, that had this restriction the humans are to be kept on the plantation and not to be sold, and that then meant that the college needed to have a mechanism for renting out humans. And so this is a handbill that was printed out, I guess in 1826, advertising the rental of humans, 20 belonging to Washington College, men, women, boys and girls, who were for rent. And then what we have is this other document, a pre-printed form, a contract, for leasing humans. And it’s sort of, this harnesses the technology of print, to make it possible to make it easier to rent people. And if you look up here you see that these folks who were renting are acting on behalf of the president and trustees of Washington College. This is a contract for Miliy and her child for one year. This in the wake of the Nat Turner rebellion, and other events, the college finds they wanna sell the humans and the plantation, and then use that money for other purposes, ultimately to build Robinson Hall. And so they get an opinion letter from a lawyer in the valley that says, sure, you can go ahead and disregard this, what we call restraint on alienation, restriction on sale, and so they are sold. Many end up in Mississippi and I understand there are some very interesting work being done to locate descendants of these enslaved people that Robinson, and what we end up with is a monument to John Robinson and Robinson Hall. Some people are not sold. Some of them are elderly and infirm and so are not sold, and at one point in 1842, the university trustees paid somebody to take care of a small number of enslaved people. That’s the story that I have about the human connections to slavery, but I wanna spend time, and focus on the ideas about slavery and antislavery that took place on this campus and in this town. And here we have a story of Henry Ruffner, the president who came in 1837, and he’s here until 1848. And Ruffner is a person who was antislavery. He began speaking in 1843 he gave an extended lecture to the Rockbridge Colonization Society about the attempt to take free people and recently freed people, and remove them to Africa. Nell Young did a terrific book on the sort of colonization ideas in Rockbridge County. There’s a lot to be said about the colonization movement in ways in which it was deeply concerned with race and exclusion, and then there is also a narrative about them that this is one of the few forms of antislavery behavior, or advocacy, that could be acceptable in the south. So, there’s a lot to be said, and they’re conflicting stories about how to think about colonization. But, Ruffner also, in 1847 put together a pamphlet, that was based on debates that took place in the Franklin Literary Society here in Lexington, running from January through I guess about April in 1847. In which Ruffner and other people like John Letcher who ended up shockingly as Governor of Virginia later in life, took an antislavery position against people like Francis Smith, who was commandant of VMI and Judge John Brockenbrough, and John Brockenbrough a federal judge based here in Lexington. And so, you had this long running weekly debate about slavery and antislavery in which Ruffner took the position that, he argued less on issues of morality of slavery and more on economics, and sort of the economic harm and inefficiently of institution of slavery made it harder to have economic development. And again, these are really interesting questions about why was the debate largely on economic rather than moral grounds, and at least one argument one would make is because that was the grounds on which these arguments could be heard. He, Ruffner, argued later in life, that the debates had been around the question of is slavery injurious to the United States? So, an economic rather than a moral argument. And in this he was joined by other people, like George Dabney, a professor of classics here, who went on an emaciated about six of his humans as well. In 1848, Ruffner leaves Washington College. There are a number of reasons why this takes place, but it appears that at least part of it is in conflict with the trustees who are unhappy with his antislavery position. And the person who replaces him, is George Junkin, who was removed from his position at Miami University of Ohio for having argued a proslavery position, so what you have, is sort of this change of antislavery faculty leaving the south, and proslavery faculty leaving the north, sort of reshuffling. During Junkin’s time here, we had a number of increasingly proslavery arguments, and proslavery faculty. So, Junkin was known for his 1843 address in Cincinnati that supported slavery that had tried to minimize the harms of slavery. As I’m pointing out, there are many institutions in American culture that lead to some evils. Marriage is one of them, but he says, well, we don’t dispose of marriage, and we shouldn’t dispose of slavery. He continues speaking once he’s here at Washington College about the importance of communion with slave owners and the threats the antislavery advocacy pose to union. In this regard, he is very similar to a number of, sort of, more conservative people in the north, Daniel Webster gives an 1850 address on congress supporting the compromise of 1850. Very similar Junkins sort of arguments about moderation and refusing to take a stand against slavery, very, very similar to what you see with Daniel Webster. And then we have some other folks here, DH Hill who ends up life as Confederate officer, Confederate general was a mathematics professor here at Washington College, and shortly after leaving here he published a mathematics textbook. He went to Davidson next and published a mathematics text. I’ll leave this to the mathematicians and the people who do natural science to try and answer these sorts of questions, but you know all manner of, even the math textbook was harnessed to make the Yankees look bad, and in the sort of questions that they asked students to complete. So, there are other ways to try to gauge ideas, the intellectual culture of Lexington and Washington College one thing that’s incredibly useful are these student literary debates. So, about every two weeks on campus the Graham and Washington literary societies had debates, and they were wide ranging. But, often times they related to issues of empire and slavery. And I think you can use these as a way of gauging what was going on, and how students were thinking about problems. So, I want to sort of have a little timeline. You recall, Henry Ruffner leaves in 1848. So, I wanna look a little bit before he leaves, and a little bit after he leaves to just try and get some sense of the changes in ideas and the culture on campus. So, in 1845 the students debate is slavery a moral evil? And they say yes it is. That’s the conclusion of the debate. We don’t know the content, but we know the question and the result. In 1846, they say, should slavery be abolished? They say, no, it may be a moral evil, but it shouldn’t be abolished. And that’s a not uncommon divide that you would have. 1851, after Junkin is president, then they say, is slavery beneficial to the interests of the world? And they say, yes. So, we’ve moved from it’s immoral, to it shouldn’t be abolished, to it’s beneficial. In 1852, they ask, is slavery injurious to the interests of the south? And they say, no. And you recall, that was the question that Ruffner said his Franklin Literary Society debate was about. Ruffner was arguing in 1847 that slavery was injurious to the interests of the south. But by 1852 the students here were saying it is not. And then, next year they ask, is slavery a moral evil. And so it’s the same question they had about six years before, and they say, no it’s not. So you can trace the changing ideas, and then the next year after that, in 1854, has the institution of slavery produced more good than evil? And yes it has. These are the evolving conclusions of these students. And then in 1855, is slavery in accordance with the dictates of humanity, yes it is. So, what we’re seeing is this sort of increasingly proslavery approach among the students, and my argument is that maps pretty closely the increase in proslavery ideas that we see in southern culture and northern culture to some extent as well. Now, let me put this in contrast, I want to look at Washington College in contrast with VMI, a neighboring institution, and I think that will help us get a sense of sort of how ideas developed here and put into context the proslavery and antislavery ideas of Washington College. So, at VMI we have, in 1850 Judge Brockenbrough, a Lexington resident, giving an address at VMI and here he contemplates disunion. Junkin is pro-union at Washington College. About that same time you’ve got somebody speaking at VMI contemplating disunion, and demanding that the union be on the terms of the constitution as southerners interpreted the constitution. So, again, I think it’s important to look at Washington College, in contrast with other institutions. Washington College pro-union VMI already a decade before you recall the Civil War begins in 1861. A decade before the Civil War begins, VMI has speakers who are contemplating disunion. Now, so, that’s Judge Brockenbrough’s July 4th address. I wanna fast forward to 1856, and I wanna look at three addresses to give a sense of the range of ideas. So, you’ve got President Junkin gives an address up at Rutgers in the north. So, he’s gone up to the north to deliver an address for tolerance, where asks for tolerance for slave owners, and he talks about the ways in which, slavery has generated many benefits. He talks about the ways slavery had civilized more people over two and a half centuries than any other institution known to humankind. It was a very pro-slavery speech and it was asking for tolerance for slave owners, and for a call for union. Henry Ruffner, who was now retired from Lexington and was speaking in his home town of Kanawha Salines, gave a speech a few days later in which he also pled for union, talked about the economic benefits of union, but also asked for moderation and tolerance on all sides. He was critical of proslavery people and he was critical of antislavery people. So, again, you get these sort of difference of ideas between Junkin, Ruffner, and then Governor Wise, Virginia Governor Wise also gave an address July 4th, 1856 at the dedication of this statue of George Washington which is still on the VMI campus. And there, Wise, again, spoke about the need for union. He harnessed Washington’s image as sort of a unionist but also as a states righter, and he argued that we needed to contain sectional divisions and then used that as an opening for an attack on the antislavery zealots he saw in Massachusets. So, we get the whole range of ideas here. And in these range of ideas I think we can begin to get a sense of how people at Washington College fought against slavery, and then shifted to a more proslavery approach, but always, or in many instances, a pro-union approach. I now wanna talk a little bit about the road to secession, here, and here I wanna focus not on what’s going on in Washington College, this campus, because you don’t have people arguing. You don’t have speakers coming in to argue for secession, but at VMI, you do have speakers. In 1857 you have a visiting lawyer, James Massey who speaks about the the importance, calculates the value of union and then says that slavery is giving incalculable benefits to the south, and even in the north they’re beginning to feel the conservative elements of slavery. And Massey goes on to talk not just about the importance of slavery, but the importance of secession, if the institution of slavery is not protected. This is followed the next year by a speaker, Willoughby Newton, who is in the US House of Representatives from Virginia, and he says I’m not even gonna talk about the importance of slavery. The day for argument about slavery is past. And such a flood of light has been shed upon it during the last few years, in all its aspects, moral, social, religious, economy, that nothing more remains to be said. And yet, he goes on to talk about how great the institution of slavery is, the landing in Virginia from a Dutch ship in the month of August of 1820 of 20 African slaves has been in its results one of the most remarkable events in the history of mankind. Inconsiderable in itself, revolting as it may be to the natural feeling, no calm observer of the progress of human affairs can fail to perceive in it the beginning of a mighty agency for the advancement of wealth, happiness, civilization, and refinement of the world. Those are the arguments that you hear on VMI’s campus and then Newton goes on to say that the time is fast approaching when there’ll be no alternative but separation from the north or tame submission to its uncontrolled despotism. So, years before Lincoln’s election, people at VMI, speakers at VMI are already talking about the need for secession, calculating the value of union, finding it wanting, and arguing for secession. And that’s one of the reasons, the ways in which VMI is justified it is an institution that is preparing people to defend the south through force if necessary. That then brings us to November of 1860, and the election of President Lincoln, and then the spring of 1861. A student puts a secession banner on the top of Washington Hall, George Junkin pulls it down, has a confrontation with the student, and then Junkin leaves. He resigns the presidency and goes back to Pennsylvania which is where he was from. And Junkin writes, right at the end of the war, of the sort of sadness in how everything, violence, everything had unfolded, lack, disunion. He talks about how he was sad to read in the reports of the Battle of Bull Run how the student who he’d fought with a few months before had died at that battle. And then he writes that in the wake of the battle at Gettysburg, in July 1863, he goes over to visit with Confederate prisoners of war and he has a reunion with some of his students. It’s poignant, such improbable stories of the way in which ideas about slavery, union, freedom, clashed and unfolded in ways people could never have dreamed. So, that’s my story of these wide ranging ideas on this campus, in this town, in this state, in this nation, how we as Americans struggled, how to think and act about slavery, freedom and union, and the ways in which, I think we can use the events here as a microcosm for understanding these sorts of momentous struggles as Americans. I’d love to hear what y’all are thinking about this, and look forward to continuing the conversation. (applauding) As far as taking questions. Oh, I’d love to, yeah, absolutely. I hope folks have questions are probably going to be more fun than listening to me talk, yeah. Yes. You talked about how the views on slavery changed among the student body, and that that reflected a larger trend. What do you think accounts for that? Is it a reaction to the abolitionists? Yeah, thanks, it’s a great question. So, the question is, their changing views among students here, and among students throughout the south and in fact, not just students, but throughout the south. So, there’s a couple of traditional stories and I think this is really interesting question to think about the multiple progression points that explains this sort of changing idea. So, partly I think it’s driven by changing economics. The institution of slavery is increasingly of great economic importance in the wake the Nat Turner Rebellion in 1831, there’s a professor, Thomas Dew at William and Mary who writes a very important proslavery teretis and was used as a textbook at VMI right up until close to the Civil War anyway. Where he talks about even if we wanted to end the institution of slavery it could not be done in Virginia because of the economic disaster that would follow, and this is an argument that proslavery people make when they look at the emancipation in the West Indies, that Great Britain does in the 1830’s, and they say that this is such an economic and demographic disaster for the white owners that it can’t be done in the United States. I think it’s important to remember the just pure economics of this. I do think there is a changing the antislavery attitudes which became increasingly and aggressively robust, probably caused a reaction that’s a common argument, right. And, I think, as you had this sort of dialogue between antislavery and proslavery people, the proslavery arguments became more robust, and I think that they were legitimized by politicians, legitimized by the Supreme Court as the Supreme Court became more aggressively proslavery, that I think opened up space that made it easier for the proslavery arguments to gain power, I mean, I think there’s a number of things that are going on. I suspect at Washington College at least one of the things that was going on is when Henry Ruffner was here, you know, speaking aggressively and publicly, and publishing antislavery arguments that that opened up space for more antislavery advocacy, and then once he’s gone, and Junkin comes in, that that closes some of the space for the antislavery advocacy. It is fascinating to me, and I think we see, sort of, examples of this in contemporary politics, how we as a people take our cues about politics and culture from our leaders. And so as leaders change, that alters the space that us humble little people are going to occupy. Speaking regarding the two sides and the conflict, was there ever any discussion regarding a process from the abolitionists to how they can accommodate the southern feel that we have to have slavery versus north. Over a process of 10 or 15 years. So, it’s a super interesting question, right? Was there some way in which the antislavery folks said, hey, maybe, let’s have a form of advocacy that is as effective as possible, right. That’s essentially, and so, some of the antislavery people were just aggressively and robustly antislavery, and no compromise with slave owners, and in some ways I think that was a fairly effective, you know, this always sorts of action, and then reaction. And that ends up being a fairly effective technique. There’s a really interesting discussion we can have about what leads to, why does Civil War happen in 1861 given the incredible power and wealth of the south, and the interests of people north and south, and the economic interests of slavery. In part, I think, that was driven by the robustness of the antislavery movement, the uncompromising sense of the antislavery movement, and because you had that uncompromising attitude, then you had the reaction in the south with secession. Which obviously ended slavery much earlier than it would have happened had their not been civil war. But asking somebody in November of 1860, when will slavery end? Nobody would have put a bet on within five years. So, you have politicians who were incredibly counter productive, but to return to your question, there were people and I think Ruffner is a great example of this who were antislavery, probably zealously antislavery but were trying to operate within a space that would be at least a moderate space that looked like it would be effective. I think that’s why Ruffner has all of these economic arguments, and leaves aside these moral arguments. And he’s (mumbles) I’m gonna try and argue with you on the terms that make sense to you which is that slavery is not a great idea economically. I’m not actually sure, there’s a big discussion now, about the efficiency of slavery, I’m actually not sure that Ruffner was correct on that, but he was trying to reach people at a space that I think they could hear, I think that’s what’s going on on. Seth, do you? A question on the graphic that showed Junkin’s speech. I guess, and the title of that, in his defense in Cincinnati. You notice that there’s a Bible reference. Yes. And I was wondering if you could comment on the significance, especially in the south, the church and its role in perpetuating the shift. Yeah, thanks. So, religious thought is an area that I work in substantially less, and undoubtedly many people in this room know infinitely more, including you, about this topic than I do. But, one of the. Junkin like Ruffner was a Presbyterian minister. And so it’s unsurprising that he’s speaking in terms and to religious societies. One of the things that interests me about the sort of important parallels between religious and legal thought, you’ll have people like Daniel Webster speaking about the importance of union from a legal perspective, and then you’ll have people like Junkin speaking about the importance of union from a religious perspective. And you have both religious and legal thought being mobilized on both sides, both proslavery and antislavery. And I think one of the stories that’s important is that religious thinkers are making the same trip toward increasing proslavery ideas that I often trace more along the lines of legal thinkers. There’s a letter that some Presbyterian minster sends to Henry Ruffner around 1837, so about the time that James M’Dowell is at Princeton, abandoning his earlier antislavery ideas and saying, yeah, you know, slavery is important, and we need to continue the institution of slavery and that’s sort of the foundation of union. M’Dowell legal thinker makes that shift, a Presbyterian minister writes to Henry Ruffner and says, you know, around the time of the Nat Turner Rebellion, I was actually against slavery, but the antislavery folks have been so aggressive, and toxic, destructive, or something like that. He doesn’t use the word toxic. And so destructive that I have begun to shift, like other people, towards support of slavery. It is a really interesting move that southerners, politicians, religious leaders, lawyers, professors seem to be making to increasing support of slavery and you have this sort of culture moving towards slavery across professions. Yeah, go, go, go continue. What’s so interesting is the way people received their information during that era, so much different than now. So, how influential those ministers were in those local churches and small towns. I mean, so it’s super interesting, right. There’s substantially less information, so you have, you know, party newspapers being super important, you’ve got oratory, these kinds of addresses, you obviously have it’s unsurprising that religious and legal thought are so similar because you’ve got religious leaders who are speaking to lawyers and vice versa. And these things move in consonance I think in a way that we don’t see now, so splintered as you say, the way in which people get information now, is substantially more splintered. Good, love to talk, yeah, go. So, you know, I find it deeply unsettling how the moral conversation sort of gets short shrift, I doubt you’re gonna be able to say anything that’s gonna make me feel any better. (laughing) But, I would like you to talk more about that. And maybe where the moral conversation was happening if it was, in the interaction. So, it’s super interesting. So, I think people like Ruffner who, you know, after he leaves Washington College goes and writes several pamphlets that are published anonymously that are zealously antislavery. And so I think, you know, Ruffner is somebody who we think as lawyers role morality issues was constrained in what he could do. When he was president he was trying to reach people and he was arguing on the grounds, I think, the only grounds that would be calculated to be successful. So, he was constrained even though I think in private he was zealously antislavery, he was constrained in the ways in which he could do that in public. And so you’ve got Ruffner making economic arguments. You’ve got the American Colonization Society, the Rockbridge Colonization Society, also, trying to do things to gradually end slavery. And that invites all sorts of questions about, like, could they have done more? Could they have had a different mode of advocacy that might have been better calculated to end slavery sooner? I think a lot of this needs to be viewed through the lens of the difficulty of being a more robust antislavery advocate. There are certainly, I mean, one of the things that I think is important, this is why I was interested in bringing the VMI lectures into dialogue, because you get to see how, put Washington College into context with VMI. You can also put it into context with some of the you know, lectures at Oberlin College which were zealously antislavery. And you can see the whole range, and I think it’s important to see the whole range. How’s that sound? I’d love to talk infinitely more about these kinds of things, yeah. So, you said, that when Governor Wise gave his talk about Washington he said that Washington was of course a nationalist. He also made reference to Washington as a state’s rights, I’m not so sure (mumbles). Washington as a national not to mention the state’s rights but also I’d like to note, how much before the Civil War was states rights a big issues, as opposed to… Yeah, yeah, as opposed to a post hoc rationalization after the war, yeah, yeah, super, so many cool things. So, I’ve got a whole lecture that I’d love to download on the Washington equine statue on Capital Square in Richmond Virginia, you know, the sort of. Y’all know this, it was put up around the 1858. And it becomes the symbol of the Confederacy, literally the Confederate symbol is Washington on his horse from the capital in Richmond. When that’s put up in 1858 there’s a series of addresses that are given, one is Washington is unionist, one is Washington is state’s righter, and one is Washington is slave owner. And so you’ve got people, each picking, obviously, you and I and probably most people in this room think of Washington mostly as unionist, but there were other people who were trying to harness the image of Washington, and remake that image to their own particular purpose. So, and Wise was among the more moderates. (mumbles) Washington supported union and so what we need to do is pull together and support union. But, there were also elements in Wise’s address this sort of Washington is supporting the rights of Virginians and so, we don’t wanna have Virginians being dictated to by the federal government. I think that’s not, you think of things like the Whisky Rebellion, where is Washington as state’s righter, but I think the neat thing about this is that’s how people are taking Washington, remaking him to their image. So many things to talk about here. This Washington statue is constructed by enslaved labor. In the Virginia State Library you’ve got the receipts for Harry, or, you know, Alfred, who was purchased by the Washington Monument Association to help construct this, it’s just so many things. We have to stop, I understand. I’ve got one more actually before we stop, if that’s all right. Okay, Ted DeLaney was in line, we’ll let him be the last and then we will all go off for fall break. Yes, thank you. The problem with making the colonization society (mumbles) the colonization society would not have existed in the south if they has been associated in any way with abolitionism. And the National Colonization Society never spread like a who’s who of slave holders. (loud coughing covers speech) Colonization society would in principle it was getting rid of free blacks. Free blacks who are a paradox, free blacks who they view as interests, so I’m not convinced that the Rockbridge Colonization Society was as moderate as… Yeah, so excellent point, in one way, thank you for that. And one way to think about this in the wake of the Nat Turner Rebellion, the two statutory changes after they decide, hey we’re not, the Virginia legislation decides, hey we’re not gonna do anything about to end slavery, the two things they do is set aside money for colonization of free people, and then make, fashion the shackles tighter on enslaved people so enslaved people can’t have religious meetings unless they’re being supervised by a white person. So, I think those are really super important critiques of colonization. The one sort of counterpoint is that James Burney who runs for president on the Liberty Party in 1840 started off life with the colonization society, right, so I think there’s some people who are acting under the guise of colonization who would like to be more radical even if many, many, many people in the colonization society were basically, dreamed of a republic in which there were no people of African decent, how’s that sound? Thank you so much. I hope to continue the conversation. (applauding)

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