Senator saw federal money as precursor to emancipation

“Slavery became the lens through which Southerners looked at every question, the red dye that tainted every American conflict….

“North Carolina senator Nathaniel Macon suspected, as early as 1818, that ‘the passage of a bill granting money for internal improvements’ would also make ‘possible a bill for the emancipation of the negroes,’ and he ‘desired to put North Carolinians on their guard, and not simply North Carolinians, but all Southerners.'”

— From “Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War & Reconstruction” by Allen C. Guelzo (2012)


Dred Scott: Score one for slaveholder rights

The Supreme Court… decision in the Dred Scott case…  is the most important decision ever made by any Court in this country…. It fortifies as by a wall of brass the rights of the slaveholder in the States and in the common territories.

The idea of the abolitionists, that a slave is free as soon as he touches the soil of a free State, is again exploded; for it is declared that he remains a slave, though sojourning in a free State, and the right of his owner to his body and to his services cannot be affected.”

— From the Raleigh Standard, March 11, 1857

Edenton, 1852: Conduct ‘unbecoming’ a slave

“In December 1852, William Pettigrew reported to a slaveholding correspondent, the town of Edenton, North Carolina, was still full of talk about a rebellion said to have been planned by Josiah Collins’s slaves in October.

“Those  implicated had been sold to a trader and gathered into a coffle [that is, a line of slaves chained together] when they broke out into song. ‘The town has been much shocked,’ Pettigrew wrote, ‘at the unbecoming manner in which Mr. C’s Negroes…. conducted themselves… [Those slaves not in the coffle] spent their time singing and dancing until Hempton the landlord threatened to confine them in the dungeon….

” ‘One of their favorite songs was “James Crack Corn I Don’t Care.” Their  object was said to [be to]  set their master at defiance, and to show their willingness to leave him…. The good people of the place were rejoiced when they left, feeling apprehension of the insubordinate influences such conduct might have on their [own] Negroes.’ ”

— From “Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market” (1999) by Walter Johnson

More white solidarity = fewer murders?

“The decline of the homicide rate came later in North Carolina than in New England or the Chesapeake, but by the mid-18th century it… also had a low rate ….

“Indian warfare and political strife (including three rebellions against the colonial government) had periodically reduced the colony to lawlessness. But as racial slavery took hold in North Carolina in the 1720s and 1730s, white solidarity increased, and as the colony’s government became more effective, the homicide rate declined….”

— From “American Homicide” (2009) by Randolph Roth