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1822 Illinois gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Illinois gubernatorial election, 1822

← 1818
1826 →
Nominee Edward Coles Joseph Phillips Thomas C. Browne
Party Independent Democratic-Republican Democratic-Republican
Running mate Adolphus Hubbard Unknown Unknown
Popular vote 2,854 2,687 2,443
Percentage 33.16% 31.22 28.39

Nominee James B. Moore
Party Democratic-Republican
Running mate Unknown
Popular vote 622
Percentage 7.23

Illinois governor election, 1822.svg
County Results

Coles:      50-60%      60-70%      80-90%
Phillips:      40-50%      60-70%      70-80%
Browne:      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%      80-90%
Moore:      60-70%

Tie:      40-50% Phillips/Browne

Governor before election

Shadrach Bond

Elected Governor

Edward Coles

The 1822 Illinois gubernatorial election was Illinois's second gubernatorial election and its first competitive election. All candidates in the election represented the Democratic-Republican Party.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court
  • ✪ The History of the Camera (documentary)
  • ✪ African American Experience Lecture Series - Walter Johnson
  • ✪ The Antislavery Bulwark: The Antislavery Origins of the Civil War – Session 1


>> Good afternoon! And welcome to the National Archives to the William G. McGowan Theater. It's a pleasure to have you here with us. I am David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States. And greetings to you, whether you are here with us in the theater or joining us on YouTube. A special greeting to those of you joining us on C‑SPAN. And another special greeting to the students from Georgetown Day School, where are you? Thanks for being here. (APPLAUSE) >> Before we hear from your guest speaker, Paul Finkelman, I want to let you know about two other programs. Wednesday, January 17 at noon, military historian Max Boot will tell us about his new book on legendary CIA operatives, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam. And Thursday, January 18 at 7 p.m. we will show the Emmy Award winning HBO documentary, Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam, based on the book of the same name. The 1987 film features actors and actresses reading letters home from men and women serving in the Vietnam War. To learn about these and more events consult our events online at or sign up at the table outside the theater to get E‑mail updates, and you will also find information about other National Archives programs and activities. And another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports all of our education and outreach activities. For most people long out of school thinking back on U.S. history dredges up memories on the Revolutionary War, establishment of the Constitution and War of 1812 and jump to the Civil War. The in between time may be indistinct, it saw emergence of a divided nation throughout this period. The federal government time and time again had to deal with the questions of slavery and its expansion. Among the voluminous records of the federal courts here at the National Archives, are hundreds of freedom suits cases brought by slaves seeking to obtain their freedom. One such case initiated by Dred Scott in 1846 made it to the Supreme Court where the final decision became one of the most infamous decisions of the court's history. Our guest today looks at three notable pre‑Civil War Supreme Court justices, how they upheld the institution of slavery in rulling after ruling. The first, Chief Justice John Marshall, Justice Joseph Story, and Chief Justice Roger Taney. Paul Finkelman is the president of Grants College in greater Philadelphia before taking this position he held Fulbright chair in human rights and social justice at University of Ottawa School of Law. He held a number of endowed chairs, tenured professor or as a visitor, including a chair in American legal history at Duke at the Duke Law School. He is author of more than 200 scholarly articles, including three for the National Archives magazine Prologue, author or editor of more than 50 books on a wide variety of areas, including American legal history, U.S. constitutional law, American slavery, the first amendment. The history of the second amendment, American Jewish history civil rights and legal issues surrounding American sports. His work is cited by the United States Supreme Court and numerous other courts and many appellate briefs. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Paul Finkelman. (APPLAUSE) >> Thank you. Thank you very much. For those of you who are working scholars or have done genealogy or family history, you realize that we are in the temple of our world. This is the most important building in the United States with the possible exception of the Library of Congress. And between the two they hold the information that makes us whole as people, and makes us whole as Americans. If we are to understand our world, we have to understand how we got to where we are. And the way we understand that is by coming here and getting our hands dirty and looking at really old stuff, and having our eyes go bleary trying to read 18th and 19th Century handwriting. I want to ask everybody to give a round of applause to the Archive staff because ‑‑ (APPLAUSE) >> ‑‑ they are ‑‑ they are the people who make the kind of books that I write possible. I have spent far more hours in the archives then I can count and every one of them has been enjoyable. I thank the archives for allowing me to come here and talk about my latest book. And of course this book could not be what it is without the archives. So I want to start by telling you how I came to sort of discover there was something really new to say. A number of years ago, I was asked to give a series of lectures at Harvard University at the DuBois Centre for African‑American studies. And I decided to give the three lectures on the major Supreme Court justices of the period from the founding to the Civil War which could be Chief Justice John Marshall and Justice Joseph Story and Chief Justice Roger B. Taney. I gave the lectures on how they talked about slavery. Taney was easy, he was the author of Dred Scott, for many people you don't need to say anything else. You will discover in the book what we see as shocking in Dred Scott is not new for Taney, but rather he spent his entire career believing what he wrote in Dred Scott. What is interesting about Taney, working backwards from Taney to Marshall, is that many scholars look at Taney's Dred Scott opinion and say: How could the Chief Justice of the United States write this? Or they say: By this time he was a very old man and he is writing an opinion that shouldn't be taken that ‑‑ you know that shouldn't destroy his career because he was a great justice before this. Some scholars say that Taney's opinion is an aberration. What is he remembered for in ‑‑ he is remembered for arguing in Dred Scott asserting that the Constitution does not allow African‑Americans to be citizens of the United States, even if they are born free in the United States. Even if they are living in a state where they are allowed to vote and hold public office and participate completely in all of the civic and citizenship related rights of white people, he says, they are not citizens of the United States. And this is shocking. And yet, it shouldn't be because when Taney was attorney general of the United States, he sent a memo to Andrew Jackson saying: Free blacks can't be citizens in the United States. What he says in Dred Scott he had already said 25 years earlier. And he had said this in different ways throughout his career. So, talking about Dred Scott and slavery, talking about Taney and slavery was really the easiest of the lectures. Story is more complicated, because he is from New England, the Massachusetts justice ‑‑ justice on the court. And we would expect Joseph Story to be an anti‑slavery justice. And when we look at Story's very early career, as a member of the Supreme Court, we find that he is in fact vigorously anti‑slavery. In those days, that is, before the 20th Century, Supreme Court justices did something which is called riding circuit. They would sit in Washington, hear cases and go back to the circuits they are from; for Story, New England circuit. And go to the federal district courts and sit with the federal district judge and hear cases at what was called the circuit courts. So, if you lost in the district court before the district judge you might appeal to the circuit court, which would consist of the same judge, plus the Supreme Court justice. Some cases would go directly to the circuit court depending on the nature of the case. In addition, because he was the Supreme Court justice, Story would give charges to the grand juries. 1819 and 1820 Story tours New England and he gives charges to the grand juries urging the federal grand juries in Providence in Boston in Manchester and ultimately in Maine, when Maine becomes a state, to investigate illegal trading of slaves, to investigate Americans violating the laws against the African slave trade. These charges are phenomenally powerful and vigorous in his condemnation of slavery and his condemnation of the way in which Americans are involved in slavery.  But after that, Story hears one case involving the slave trade where he reaches the same sort of conclusions. And he ‑‑ in a case called (inaudible) which was French ship, but was in fact, as anyone who looks at the evidence knows as Story knew actually owned by Americans, it was a phony French registration. This ship had been involved in the trade, Story hears the case, again he is vigorously anti‑slavery. If Joseph Story had passed away in 1821 or 1822 or 1823 after, that case was 1822, if he passed away after that, he would have gone down in history as the most vigorous opponent of slavery to sit on the Supreme Court until the 1850s. He would be an anti‑slavery hero. But sadly, of course, for his reputation involving slavery, Story's life continues for a long time. Obviously he doesn't think it's sad that his life continues. (LAUGHTER) >> And for those of us who do legal history, Story is one of the great justices and great legal scholars of our history. But in the rest of his career, he backs away and back pedals from his anti‑slavery positions. So that by the end of his career, he is vigorously arguing that the fugitive slave clause of the Constitution allows southern whites to go into the north and grab any black person they see and claim that person as a fugitive slave and not have to bring that black person before any kind of judge or magistrate. But as Story says, if they can do it without illegal violence, that is, if they can capture a black without violence they can bring that black south and it will be the southern state which will decide whether they caught the right black person.  And of course the question of illegal violence is like the great philosophy question, right? If a tree falls in the woods, no one hears it fall, did it make a noise? If slave captures go to a cabin of black people in the north in the middle of the night and they capture them, was there any illegal violence? Because there is nobody there to witness it. So, in the end, Story goes from being a vigorous opponent of slavery to being one of the great defenders of fugitive slave rendition capturing fugitive slaves, and in the end the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison calls Story the Slave Catcher in Chief for the United States.  And I think that's a fair analysis in terms of his jurisprudence. I knew about Story when I gave my lectures at Harvard, I knew about Taney. Marshall was different, because I read the biographies of Marshall and all the biographies of Marshall, I literally mean all of them, say the same thing. He owned very few slaves. They all say he owned a dozen house servants in Richmond. And that's kind of euphemism, they didn't want to say he owned slaves, he owned house servants. The biographers say he was not involved in slavery in any economic way. And they say he heard very few cases involving slavery. And that was the lecture I gave at Harvard a few years ago on this subject. Then, of course, I was told, you have to write your lectures up into a book. I easily wrote the last two chapters on Story and Taney. I struggled with the Marshall chapter because I didn't have anything new to say. I couldn't figure out why do you have a third of a book when all you are doing is repeating what everybody else wrote. I wrote a draft chapter, and the draft chapter basically said he owned a dozen slaves from Richmond. I pointed out that's actually a lot. That would make him a multimillionaire today. This is not an insignificant number, it's not only a dozen slaves. But students always ask me, how much is a slave worth? I say a slave is worth about as much as a car. They say, what kind of car? The answer, of course, is what kind of slave, right? And so, if he owned a dozen slaves he was a very, very wealthy man. And then the other thing the biographers say is that he wanted to free his personal servant Robin. In his will he has a codicil which is something he added to the end of the will which says: It's my desire my slave Robin to be free if he wishes. Again, everybody who writes about Marshall says isn't he a nice guy? Such a nice guy, he is freeing his loyal servant Robin. And I wrote all of this I thought, you know, I really want to see this piece in the will, I have to get the will, I can't rely on what other people said. I read the will. It says: Yes, I want to free my servant Robin, if he is willing, but if he will go to Liberia, I will give him a hundred dollars. A hundred dollars is a lot of money in those days it's not an insignificant sum, it's not going to last long in Liberia. Robin is an elderly man by this time, he may be African‑American, but he is not African. He has never been to Africa, he was born in the American colonies. His parents were probably born in the American colonies, his grandparents may have been Africans. My grandparents came from Poland and Ukraine and what's today Moldovia. I don't consider myself Moldovian. He is going to send Robin back to Africa with a hundred dollars or if he is willing to go to another state, he could have $50. So Robin take 50 bucks move to Philadelphia. That might last three, four months what is the elderly man going to do, he can remain in Virginia but he doesn't get any money. I am thinking, this is a very wealthy man dying, he wants to do something nice for his loyal servant Robin? Why didn't he give him a couple hundred bucks to stay in Richmond? Furthermore, what he doesn't say in his will is what he knew, because he was a lawyer and lived in Virginia, was for Robin to stay in Virginia he had to have special permission of the local court. That would require a lawyer or at least an educated person, somebody who could read and write, somebody who understands the law to go before the court and ask the court's permission to allow Robin to stay in Richmond. Now, why doesn't lawyer John Marshall do this? Why doesn't Marshall put in his will: And I direct my executor to hire counsel to assure that Robin can remain in Richmond? Why doesn't he offer him a hundred dollars to stay in Richmond with his family and friends and all of the people that he has ever known? Why, in other words, do you ask Robin to accept freedom only if you are willing to accept exile. That led me to think harder about Marshall's will and Marshall. So I read the whole will. What I found is very interesting. The will does talk about a dozen slaves. In 1827 Marshall names 12 slaves who should be given to his wife when he dies, along with the unnamed children born or to be born of the slaves Sally. So, actually the dozen slaves may be 15. But, you know, nobody is going to make the reputation as scholar saying Marshall had 15 slaves not 12, that's not a big deal. Cut him some slack here. He rewrites the will in 1831. And he then says names the 12 slaves plus now the unnamed and unnumbered children of the slave Becky. I don't know what happened to Sally's slaves. But we are still in the 15 maybe the 18 range. Then I begin to read the rest of the will. It becomes fascinating. I give to my nephew Thomas my land in suburban Richmond. And I give him the annual profits from the land and I give him all of the animals on the land, the farm equipment, and all of the slaves. And I am thinking, wait a minute this is more than a dozen slaves how many are at Chickahominy. I look at the next clause it says: I give to my son Edward ‑‑ who lives out in what was then sort of western Virginia, about 50 or 70 miles west of Washington, DC ‑‑ I give to my son Edward the land he lives on with all of the usual number of slaves. And I give to my son John the land he lives on with all of the usual numbers of slaves. And so, I am beginning to think that maybe there are more than a dozen house servants in Richmond. And I contacted a friend of mine who is also a freelance scholar and graduate student at Morgan State, Candace Gray, some of you may know her, she lives in the Washington, DC area. And she is also a superb genealogist. I said, I would like to hire you to find out how many slaves Marshall had on these lands at Chickahominy, how many are on his son Edwards. The first thing she comes back with is 62 slaves at Chickahominy. 62 is a lot bigger than a dozen. Then we discover in 1827 Marshall said in his first will, I give to my son Edward the land and slaves in 1831, he said to Edward I give the land the slaves already been conveyed, he gave Edward some of the inheritance in advance. 1830 Census says Edward has 27 slaves. There are 30‑odd slaves on John's land. And then all over Fauquier County where this land is there are little land holdings, John Marshall's slaves here, slaves there, slaves everywhere. My guess is John Marshall homes in 1830, before he conveys the slaves to his son, he owns more than 150 slaves. But we also discover that he has another son Joaquin, who is a physician, who moved out there who is really a gentlemen farmer, he has 43 slaves in 1830 or 47 slaves, he had none in 1820. You don't go from zero slaves to 45 or 47 slaves in ten years unless you are winning the Powerball Lottery, which doesn't yet exist, or your daddy John gave you a whole bunch of slaves. It turns out in 1830, between Marshall and his sons, the Marshalls own approximately 250 slaves. And it seems quite likely that in addition to the 150 and so in John's name, that the other hundred or so were conveyed to John's sons at various times. They may have added to these slaves, but the slaves have been acquired and given to the sons. And that leads to the question, first, how did so many scholars miss this? How did so many scholars not notice these hundreds of slaves that John Marshall is acquiring. I don't want to get into that because for one thing most of the biographers of Marshall are good friends of mine. (LAUGHTER) >> And I hope they remain good friends of mine I sent an E‑mail to two of my friends who are Marshall scholars when I first discovered the Chickahominy slaves I said I found this out what do you think. One of them wrote back said, I was so interested what you did I went to to see for myself. I said, he had 65 slaves, this scholar said no you are wrong, you counted the overseer his wife and son, he only had 62. He says he has a dozen, I said he had 65, I am off by three, he is off by 62 I credit him with the dozen in Richmond. The other scholar wrote back and simply said, I wish I had done the research that you have done. So, one of the questions about this, this is a question about scholarship is why have so many imminent scholars, so many real first‑class historians ignored all of this evidence? I think the reason is, in part, that people approach history in different ways. So, a constitutional historian approaches John Marshall as the great Chief Justice, and by every standard, by any standard, John Marshall is the great Chief Justice. He has a statue in front of him in the Supreme Court, he has a statue inside the Supreme Court. He has been on a commemorative silver dollar, on four U.S. postage stamps, on the 20 dollar treasury note 1890 and 1891 and the 500 dollar Federal Reserve note. He is the only Supreme Court justice to make it on money and more than one postage stamp. There are four law schools that are John Marshall law schools, including the distinguished Marshall College of Law at the College of William and Mary. So, Marshall is our great Chief Justice. If we look at the Supreme Court decisions cited most by the court itself, of the top ten decisions, the ten most cited by the court itself, five of them are Marshall opinions. This is pretty impressive. He is important. He is the great Chief Justice. If you write about John Marshall you want to write about his jurisprudence. You want to write about the way in which he establishes the Supreme Court as a central entity within American government as a co‑equal branch with congress and the presidency. That we see in every textbook. We all learn how in Marbury versus Madison Marshall establishes the court and McColic versus Maryland, Marshall tell the states they may not interfere with federal jurisprudence when the federal government has the power to do something. And we remember Marshall as a fearless Chief Justice who stares down Thomas Jefferson in Jefferson's vindictive attempts to get Aaron Burr hanged for treason and stares down Andrew Jackson in the Cherokee cases, however I would argue that's not the case. So, people write about Marshall in this way and they don't want to think about slavery because slavery is not on their agenda. That's one of the great problems with how we do with American history. Next month we celebrate Black History Month. I am delighted that there is Black History Month, I wish it were 12 months long, along with white history months and Indian history months and other kinds of history. Because, in fact, you can't separate African‑American history from American history, they are intertwined in hundreds and thousands and millions of different ways. But ‑‑ (APPLAUSE) >> Thank you. But constitutional historians write about the great Chief Justice and there are a body of constitutional historians who write about civil rights slavery and other things. So, we need to begin to integrate this together. So, I start looking at Marshall's slave holding I am truly shocked. He is not the guy we think he is. He is somebody else. And then I looked at the wonderful collection that Charles Hobson edited the papers of John Marshall. And Hobson is taken most of the Marshall documents, edited them annotated them with a huge staff, published them in hard copy books, they are a treasure trove. Among others there are almost two volumes of Marshall's business records from the 1780s and 1790s. In these records we begin to see John Marshall becoming a slave owner. Unlike his cousin Tommy Jefferson, John Marshall did not inherent hundreds of slaves, John Marshall was given one slave at his wedding, the slave Robin who he later claims he would like to emancipate.  And later on his father gives him a couple other slaves but John Marshall doesn't come from a wealthy background, and he acquires slaves the good old‑fashioned American way, by buying them. What we see in his personal records is that he is constantly buying slaves. And this is, again, a fascinating analysis, a fascinating set of information. So, that I just want to read you a little bit of this, I don't like reading from text. This is so detailed I have to stare down in October 1783 Marshall buys the slave Moses for 74 pounds, he is not yet using dollars, it's just after the revolution. He also buys shoes for Hanna, another slave, although we don't know when he acquired Hanna. On July 1, 1784 he spends 90 pounds for Ben. Three days later, July 4th, the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence since the peace treaty with England confirmed that we were indeed a free nation, he buys two slaves for 30 pounds, probably children, named Eddie and Harry. And he pays 20 pounds more for two more servants. And Marshall of course always uses slave and servant interchangeably. In September he spends another 25 pounds for unnamed uncounted servants in November. He buys Kate and Esau. And in 1784 he purchases Harry, but doesn't record the price. In the period of 12 months from October 1783 to October 1784 Marshall buys 9 named slaves and numerous unnamed and uncounted servants. These are in addition to slaves that he apparently already owns. Some of these are brought to his house in Richmond. By the way, he is a recently married very young man, has no children yet. Does not yet own a mansion in Richmond, and you wonder why is he buying so many slaves and the answer is: Because John Marshall has figured out that the path to riches in Virginia is land and slaves and he is aggressively acquiring all that he can. In 1785, I'm sorry 1786, he pays 50 pounds for two slaves. 1787 Israel, 55 pounds. May he spends 55 pounds for a woman bought at Gloucester. He makes a down payment of 11 pounds for two more slaves in June. He pays for the burial of Sam, and complains he lost his investment. On July 4th, 1787, another Independence Day Marshall buys more slaves that day and pays for other slaves that he has previously purchased. During a four‑year period Marshall acquires at least 15 named slaves, and numerous unnamed slaves. We don't know how many. We also don't know how many slave families are destroyed by these purchases. Sometimes he buys children. At one point he buys a mother and her child, but does not say if the woman has other children, if the woman has a husband. We don't know. We only know that Marshall going out into the countryside, a rising political figure in Virginia, a rising lawyer in Virginia is taking his legal fees and acquiring slaves wherever he can. He will do this for the rest of his life. Because as I have mentioned, by 1830 his slaves number in the hundreds. We will never know how many slaves Marshall owned. The records are not clear. He apparently destroyed most of his financial records before he died. We don't know why. He kept all of his letters, he kept all of his lawyer's letters, all of the Supreme Court correspondence, he doesn't want us to know about his personal life. Maybe because he is afraid a snarky historian like me will come along in a hundred years and investigate these things. But he apparently forgot about these account books from the 1780s and 90s, so we have them. The result is the Chief Justice Marshall is an enormously wealthy man owning hundreds of slaves. He lives what is considered to be a modest life. He doesn't own a plantation mansion with giant columns. He rather he owns an in city, in Richmond, house which was quite substantial. We would say it would be an urban mansion today. But he also owns the plantation and land further out. He also during the 1780s and 90s acquires approximately 215,000 acres of land. If you can wrap your head around what 215,000 acres of land looks like. That he buys from the estate of Lord Fairfax, who was the royal governor of Virginia on the eve of the revolution. I want to turn briefly, we are running out of time, I want to give everyone time to ask questions. I want to turn briefly to Marshall's jurisprudence. I think it's tied to his slave owning. This is not simply Marshall owns slaves big deal what does that tell us about anything other than he is a rich Virginian. While on the court, Marshall decides more than 50% of all of the cases that come before the court. It is Marshall's court. Particularly in the period up through the 1820s. Marshall dies in 1835, but before he dies, he dominates the court except for perhaps the last ten years. And so, if we look at the decisions in the first period from 1801 until the late 1820s it's Marshall's court. It's a period when Marshall writes one dissent. It's a period when very few other justices dissent. And so, when Marshall writes decisions, it is because Marshall favors the decisions. When he doesn't write decisions, I think it's usually because either it's in an area of expertise he doesn't want to write in, or it's because he really doesn't like the outcome, but he is not going to dissent because unlike today, the court is extremely collegial and uninterested in dissents. If we look at Marshall's jurisprudence, what we discover is there are 14 cases that come before the Supreme Court involving whether or not slaves are free. Now one historian says Marshall heard relatively few freedom cases. I would argue that relatively is clearly a relative number. (LAUGHTER) >> I would argue that 14 cases over 30‑odd years are an awful lot of cases involving black freedom when you consider the expense and the difficulty of someone who is claimed as a slave trying to get a case before the Supreme Court. And when you consider the very limited Supreme Court jurisdiction in these matters. Most of these cases come out of the District of Columbia. Where, of course, the Supreme Court serves as the equivalent of the state Supreme Court. So if there is a DC case, it goes up to the Supreme Court, that's the only place you can appeal it to. Most of them involve slaves who are imported into the District of Columbia. DC local law is governed by Maryland where we are today in this part of the district. And for a while, by Virginia law in what is today Alexandria, Virginia some of you may know Alexandria was part of DC, in 1848 there was what was called the retrocession where they gave Alexandria back to Virginia. So, these cases involve what happened in those jurisdictions and those jurisdictions are basically governed by Maryland and Virginia law. I don't want to get into the technicalities here because we don't have three or four hours to explain them. Although I think I do a pretty good job in the book. But the simple issue is this: If you move to the district you had to register the slaves that you brought into the district. You had a certain amount of time to do it. You had to assert that you were moving into the district to make it your permanent residence. You could not import slaves if you lived in the district unless you inherited them from someone else. You could not go to Virginia and buy a slave and bring it into the Maryland portion of the district. And both under Virginia law and Maryland law this was the rule. Importation was illegal in many circumstances or required registration.  There are 7 cases involving registrations that reach the court where Marshall decides the case. And in every one of them the blacks lose. Every one of them the slave owner wins. In a few of these, the jury in the District of Columbia a jury of 12 white men, a jury probably that includes many slave owners presided over by the U.S. district court or DC municipal judge, who is also a slave owner, they declared the slaves to be free. You have a case where a slave wins his freedom before a jury, and the master appeals to John Marshall and John Marshall reverses the decision. In the case of one slave, Marshall complains that if you read the statute strictly, the slave will be free but we have to read the statute according to the spirit of the law. Rather than the actual law. In another case, he says that the ‑‑ I will read what he says ‑‑ the act in its expression is certainly ambiguous and the one construction or the other may be admitted without great violence to the words employed. If there is ever a moment when the great Chief Justice of America has the opportunity to side in favor of liberty, freedom and human rights, this is the moment. The statute is ambiguous. I could decide it one way or the other. He decides it in favor of the slave owner and against the slave. In another case a slave is suing simply for the right to sue for her freedom. The case hasn't gone to trial. The only evidence she can offer is what is called hearsay evidence, it's evidence of people who say that her mother was actually free and everybody in our community knew her mother was free, but nobody is alive now who can prove it. We have no documentary evidence. She is asking for the right to bring this evidence into court to sue for her freedom. Marshall says in his opinion he can perceive no legal distinction between a claim to freedom and any other right. Now, this is fairly astounding, that there is no difference between owning a wagon or a horse and a person being allowed to be free for the rest of their life. And so Marshall says: We can't possibly allow this hearsay evidence because, as he says, all property in America would be in jeopardy. He says, I quote, no man could feel safe in any property if a claim to which might be supported by proof so easily obtained. That is to say, if we allow this slave woman to offer evidence that she might be free it would jeopardize all property in America. This is based on Maryland law. Sitting on the court, is justice Gabriel Duval, who previously going on to the court was the Chief Justice of Maryland. Duval writes the only dissent of his career, a very long dissent where he condemns Marshall's opinion by saying, that in Maryland we always give leeway to slaves who have freedom claims. He said he had heard many cases like this and you always allow this kind of evidence because as Duval says: People of color from their helpless condition under the uncontrolled authority of a master are entitled to all reasonable protection. A decision that hearsay evidence in such cases shall not be admitted cut up by the roots all claims of the kind and puts a final end to them unless the claim can rise from a recent date, which is unusual. Here you have the former Chief Justice of Maryland saying in Maryland we always allow these claims and Marshall claiming, that we can never allow this because it will jeopardize all property in America. My sense of this case, and this is where I will end because I want you to have the opportunity to ask questions, my sense of this is Marshall sitting on the court is thinking about the hundreds of slaves that he has purchased throughout his life. And that he will continue to purchase. And he is wondering, will I purchase a slave who will later come along and have a valid claim to freedom and will I lose my investment. The Maryland woman's name is Meem McQueen, she will not get to be free or her children get to be free. And I think Marshall is seeing Meem McQueen is seeing her as the slave he had to pay for the burial, it's a lost investment. The economic interest of the justice and his investments in how he makes his money indirectly affects his jurisprudence. Marshall obviously has no immediate economic claim to this case. Marshall is not making money on the case, this is not corrupt, I am not suggesting corruption here, I am suggesting something perhaps worse than corruption. The way you view the world is determined by the investments in human flesh John Marshall has made throughout his life. Thank you. (APPLAUSE) >> There are microphones on either side, I would remind you C‑SPAN is filming. >>  While I am not an apologist, a 50‑year alumnist of Morgan State University, I apologize for the low estimate of slaves owned by John Marshall. Having said that ‑‑ >> Morgan State had nothing to do with these low estimates. Why mention Morgan State, because a graduate student helped me track these down. You should raise the Morgan State flag. >> I do clearly. >> Okay. >> However, you did mention Morgan State, I thought I would make that comment. >> To praise the place. >> Having said that ‑‑ time doesn't permit. Having said that I will ask, say that, if during that time of 1785 to 1835, that period in which slavery was characterized or defined as being a slave as being chattel. And even today we use that term "chattel" coming from cattle in which auto dealers now purchase their automobiles from manufacturers and they have a chattel mortgage. >> Technically, a chattel is simply a movable piece of property. The microphone you are in front of is chattel, the camera is chattel, your car is chattel. Chattel ‑‑ it's the difference between real estate, which is not movable and chattel. Okay? >> The point that I am making is that if a slave was chattel, during that period, how can one make the distinction between non‑slave and a slave who's under a chattel? I mean, what I am asking is: Why would there be a distinction legally since you are a legal historian ‑‑ historical scholar, would there be a distinction between a slave and chattel if you are ‑‑ if you are defined as chattel, you are chattel. >> Okay. And here would be the answer with Marshall or anyone else. If you have a claim to a car, and you go to the license bureau, you say, I want a license plate for this car. They say, show us your title, right? Show us the proof that you own this car. And you say, well here is the title. And they look at it and they say, well how did you get the car? I bought it from Joe. The title was originally in Joe's name. And Joe says, I bought it from the dealer. That's the chain of title. In these freedom suits, the chain of title is not clear. In the case of Meem McQueen, her argument was that her mother had always been free. And if her mother was free, then her mother was never a slave, and therefore she was never legally a slave. Even though some man came along and grabbed her and said, I am going to make you a slave. In another case I didn't talk about, this illustrates it even better, there is a woman in Maryland who sues for freedom on the grounds her mother was never a slave. The Maryland court says, yes you are free. This man is illegally holding you as a slave, you go free today. Maryland Supreme Court upholds that you are free forever and you were never a slave. The woman's children have been taken to Washington, DC. They sue in Washington, DC and they claim, well we are free because our mother was never a slave, and under American law you can only be a slave if your mother was a slave. Our mother was never a slave, here is the Maryland decision our mother is always free, therefore we are always free. And Marshall says that the owner of the slaves in Washington, DC does not have to be tied to the Maryland decision because he was not part of the Maryland case. Duval who gives the dissent in Meem McQueen doesn't dissent in the case but in the record of the court Duval argues with Marshall from the bench and says this is not the law. And furthermore, every slave state in the country would have upheld their freedom. That is there are cases in Virginia, in North Carolina, in Mississippi, in Alabama, in places that would surprise you which would say, if you can prove your mother was never a slave this man must let you go. Unless you are before Chief Justice John Marshall. That is what is so shocking here. I am going to take this guy and then go down that way. >> Thank you for the talk. Real quick, from the perspective of what you talked about Chief Justice Marshall as a man from modest means, knowing the law and developing the economics for himself and his family what is your feeling, you said not corruption but do you have a feeling of something shady, something destroyed that you are not allowed to see at this point in your investigation. What would the land ‑‑ was it ‑‑ >> I think that ‑‑ I find nothing in Marshall's records or character that would be shady. I don't see him as dishonest or corrupt. I get the question did he have any children with the slaves, it always comes up, is he like his cousin Tommy over at Monticello. The answer is there is zero evidence of this. He is not that kind of person.  What I do see though is when we look at his jurisprudence, it is important to see that the way he sees the law is perhaps a function of what goes on in his personal life. That is John Marshall's decisions on land ownership make a lot of sense when you realize he owns 215,000 acres of land, he owns, you know, large chunks of what is today I‑66, that he is a land speculator his whole life. Similarly his decisions on freedom I think dovetail perfectly with his economic interests. By the way I mention that there were 14 freedom cases Marshall decide 7 slaves lose in every one. Justice Johnson from South Carolina decides the 8th the slaves lose there. The other six cases the slaves win two of them are decided by other slave holding justices, Justice Wayne and Justice Duval. Being a slave owner, per se, doesn't mean that you would side with freedom if the law requires it. But Marshall is not merely a slave holder, he is actively engaged in acquiring slaves his whole life and distributing them to his sons just as is he with his land. Why did he destroy his financial records? I think a lot of people don't want somebody messing around in their private papers. I think it's always tragic. And by the way, the contrast between John Marshall is the other great Supreme Court justice named Marshall, Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood Marshall not only doesn't destroy his papers on his death, he gives them to the Library of Congress and said they are to be open to researchers immediately. Many justices, many great leaders give their papers and say, I want a 20‑year hold a 50‑year hold, I don't want embarrassment. Marshall says, take a look at it. >> Thank you for the insight. Scholars like you have done something very tremendous. That is, you have explored the depths of our history in order to establish the truth. I think it's very important. I think that the additional fact is, what is your opinion in regards to the these ‑‑ to these kind of developments, that are really predicated on deceit, dishonesty and delusion. When looking at American history, we never get to the insights you shared with us this afternoon. But instead we go into an intellectual gymnastics to justify what was wrong. And what could not be justified. Could you explain how this happened that unfortunately we ended up not knowing the truth and therefore not knowing the whole Story of our history? >> How many hours do I have? (LAUGHTER) >> Take your time, sir. (LAUGHTER) >> I have 5 minutes. Let me answer you in the very quick and dirty answer, which is this, that when you do the history of your own country, I believe you are obligated to open it all up and tell all. And the problem is that is sometimes I you show things which are unpleasant and ugly and sometimes you show things which are glorious and marvelous. I could write another book, I hope to write more books. I could write another book on southern slave owners who freed their slaves. I will give you the contrast between John Marshall and someone else. There is a man, Edward Coles, who is the neighbor of Thomas Jefferson and the personal secretary of James Madison that would be today like the White House Chief of Staff. Edward Coles inherits 20 slaves when he is a young man during the War of 1812. As a young man as Madison's personal secretary he resolves to free his slaves. After the war he writes a letter to his neighbor Jefferson and he says, I have always admired you because you said we are all created equal. You laid out the philosophy of liberty, I want you to know I have taken you seriously and I am going to take my slaves to Ohio and free them. And Jefferson says, writes a letter, fascinating letter, in which he says that I have waited patiently for the children raised ‑‑ for the generation raised on the mother's milk of liberty. You have to love Jefferson's writing. The mother's milk of liberty to take power and do these things. And the first historians to publish this letter published it in 1944, in a small pocket Thomas Jefferson letters papers, essays, et cetera. They published this letter. The letter goings on two pages the mother's milk of liberty, this is wonderful, it ends, dot dot dot, your obedient servant Thomas Jefferson. The editors left out the last four pages in which he tells Coles not to free the slaves, free blacks are, quote, pests on society. By the way, on the report to a Virginia legislature asking them to fund removing free blacks from Virginia and sending them to Africa Marshall uses the word "pests" as well. Free blacks are pests on society. Jefferson says, do not get rid of your patrimony. Do not give up your inheritance. He ignores Jefferson, takes them to Illinois, frees them, and becomes governor of Illinois and is crucial of preventing an attempt to allow slavery in Illinois. We can find lots of people who are heroic lots of people who sacrifice their own economic value. General Ulysses Grant when he is a captain in the Army, dirt poor, broke, he marries Julia Dent, he is a lieutenant, the daughter of a Missouri man of some means who owns some slaves and his father‑in‑law gives Grant a slave as a wedding present he is the last slave holding president. About a year later Grant is moved to Illinois, he is on the verge of bankruptcy, he is desperate. And the one asset that he has is his slave. And rather than selling his slave, because that would solve his economic problems, he moves the slave to Illinois and frees the slave. Even though it's a great economic cost. Grant will later free 4 million other slaves. That is why Grant is one of the great heroes of the United States. But the contrast is there between the people who ‑‑ who do nothing and the people who at even personal sacrifice for themselves do something. What we have to do is have a history of both. I honor Thomas Jefferson for the language that he gave us. I honor him for the Declaration of Independence. I don't honor him for his life as a slave owner. And I think that we have to learn how to balance that. And one of the great problems for any country is to come to the conclusion that most of our heroes are not 100% heroic because they are people and they are human. But at the same time when we make people heroes, it's important to hold them to a higher standard. I wrote a lot about Thomas Jefferson, and one of my critics said, why are you criticizing Thomas Jefferson for slavery, he is just like any other man of his times. And my answer is, we don't put just anybody on the nickel. We don't just put anybody on the $2 bill. We don't just put anybody's name on one building of the Library of Congress. We put people who are better than the man of their times. Two more questions, we are probably out of time. >> Wonderful talk. Owning 250 slaves, where did he rank among the top slave holders in Virginia? >> No, I can't. He had a lot of money. You know he would have been on the Forbes richest 1,000 men in Virginia. He is rich. >> Thank you professor for such an enlightening lecture. So, you said that John Marshall wasn't corrupt, it was his perspective, his view of his life and his investment that influences his decisions. So one thing that I love about history is that you can look at history to see who you are as a society today. So, I am concerned about our court judges right now. Particularly the ones being nominated who aren't even qualified intellectually to do the job. And our current Supreme Court. Particularly our, at least my viewpoint, that we are depending on Justice Kennedy to have a conscience. How as a society can we function with when we depend on these individuals to have the perspective that you hope will bring justice in 2018. >> I think the answer is this: That we are all prisoners of our own political times. For good or evil. If we don't like the politics of a moment, then our obligation is to change that politics in any way we can. And that means voting, that means being actively participating in the political structure. We have in many ways invested in the court perhaps more power than some people think it should have because sometimes we ‑‑ people say, well, the United States is governed by 5 votes, get 5 votes in the Supreme Court, that changes the world. It does to some extent but it doesn't to other extents. And I think that most of the justices, all of the justices have a conscience. I think that justices on the court are put there by presidents who have a political agenda. And the justices reflect that political agenda. I think it's the obligation of justices to get beyond that political agenda. That is to jettison that political agenda, to forget about the political world they came from, and look at law and justice and fairness and equality and equity as it comes before them, and not how they might have looked at it when they were more political. And I think by and large many justices do that. I don't think all justices do that. And we are stuck with that. One of the virtues of being a historian, I know things are going to change, because they always do. And the pendulum swings in both directions. And in terms of Justice Kennedy, Justice Kennedy has done some remarkable things. Some of which I completely agree with, some of which I don't agree with. And I think that he is continue to do things that I agree with and I don't agree with. If I look at the jurisprudence of Chief Justice Marshall, I find many wonderful opinions. As long as I don't think about things like slavery, and if I look at the jurisprudence of Chief Justice Taney, I find some pretty good decisions, as long as I don't think about race, equality and slavery. But it's important to think about everything and it's important to know about everything. And I suppose if my book has a meaning beyond understanding how we got to where we are, and I think by the way that is what historians do best, we don't do modern politics, we do the past and how we got as the archives always say the past is prologue. We have to understand the past to understand how we got to where we are. But if my book does anything, I hope it will at least get some people to think that maybe we need to think very hard, not merely about the education of a perceived justice, not merely about whether the person was a good lawyer, but also is the person a decent human being because I think that matters all the time in politics and justice. Thank you all very much. (APPLAUSE) >> We have one more announcement, which is the most important. >> There is a book signing one level up in the archives book store. We will meet you up there in just a few moments.


1822 gubernatorial election, Illinois[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Independent Edward Coles 2,845 33.16 N/A
Democratic-Republican Joseph Phillips 2,687 31.22 N/A
Democratic-Republican Thomas C. Browne 2,443 28.39 N/A
Democratic-Republican James B. Moore 622 7.23 N/A
Majority 167 1.94 N/A
Turnout 8,606
Independent hold Swing


Illinois Blue Book

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