New Content: Slavery in America and the World
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Dear Valued Customer,

As part of our ongoing commitment to facilitate discussion about this extremely important subject, we added nearly 50 titles and more than 11,000 pages to the database with our January content release.

We're proud to share our Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law February Newsletter with you during such a relevant month. 
Each February, Americans honor both people and significant events in African-American history during Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month.

Among the myriad reasons Black History Month is important is the underrepresentation of people of color in standard history classes. For instance, the recently released biographical drama Hidden Figures depicts the story of three female African-American mathematicians who worked at NASA and were integral in getting American astronauts into space. Their names are nowhere near as widely discussed as John Glenn or Neil Armstrong, though their contributions to the space program were arguably as important.

Because underrepresentation of African Americans in traditionally-taught history has long been a problem, Black History Week was created in 1926. It was officially expanded in 1976 to include the entire month of February. In addition to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom also celebrate Black History Month. To read more about Black History Month and race relations in the United States, check out our blog.

Please continue reading for additional details about January content additions and how your institution could receive a free, six-month trial to HeinOnline.


Benjamin Boron
HeinOnline Marketing Department
  • New Featured Titles: Five New titles that are personally selected by the editor with a description for each title.
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Paul Finkelman, the database's general editor, has selected some important works from December's content release and written a description of each title's significance.

Report on the Diseases and Physical Peculiarities of the Negro Race
1v. [New Orleans: New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal], 1851
Cartwright, Samuel A.
Samuel Adophus Cartwright (1793–1863) was a leading physician in New Orleans who specialized in what were called “Negro diseases.” He was raised in Virginia, the son of a minister, and his medical and scientific theories were often tied to religion. He studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Transylvania University in Kentucky, and much later in France. He was a prolific author, and one of the most prominent physicians in Mississippi, where his patients included Jefferson Davis and Governor John A. Quitman. In 1849 he relocated to New Orleans where he developed a thriving medical practice, treating slaves. By the time he moved to New Orleans Cartwright was committed to states’ rights, white supremacy, and the virtues of slavery.

A Biblical scholar as well as scientist, Cartwright sought to reconcile the dispute between anthropologists and the clergy. At the time anthropologists and other scientists argued that blacks were a separate species from whites and came from a “separate creation.” Christian ministers denounced this as heresy because there was only one creation in the Bible. In 1860, in an essay “The Unity of the Human Race Disproved by the Hebrew Bible,” published in DeBow's Review, Cartwright argued that both the clergy and the scientist were correct. He asserted that blacks were among the “other creatures” God put in the Garden of Eden, and that it was a black gardener, not a snake, that gave Eve the apple from the tree of knowledge.

Convinced that blacks were a separate species from whites, Cartwright argued that they were anatomically different and suffered from different diseases. This is set out in his “Report on the Diseases and Physical Peculiarities of the Negro.” The report was ostensibly written for a scientific audience, concerned with medicine and health. However, much of what Cartwright wrote about focused on religion, anthropology, plantation management, and politics—all geared toward defending slavery as a social and economic institution. Here Cartwright used "science," as he understood it, to defend slavery and, more particularly, the enslavement of blacks. He argued that blacks and whites had significant anatomical differences, which made blacks suited for slavery. According to Cartwright, “his brain is a ninth or tenth less than in other races of men, his facial angle smaller, and all the nerves going from the brain, as also the ganglionic system of nerves, are larger in proportion than in the white man.” Similarly, he believed that the very blood of blacks required their enslavement: “The black blood distributed to the brain chains the mind to ignorance, superstition and barbarism, and bolts the door against civilization, moral culture and religious truth.” Cartwright also believed that blacks suffered from diseases that whites could not catch. He identified “Dysaethesia AEthiopica” as an illness which caused slaves to misbehave, as if by compulsion. He noted that “overseers” call this behavior “‘rascality,’ supposing that the mischief is intentionally done. But there is no premeditated mischief in the case, – the mind is too torpid to meditate mischief, or even to be aroused by the angry passions to deeds of daring.” Another disease Cartwright discovered was “Drapetomania,” which he believed affected the minds of slaves “causing negroes to run away.”

Cartwright’s medical theories are intermixed with his political and religious values. They also affected the law to the extent that they supported the entire legal system that supported slavery.


Are Working-Men Slaves: Speech in Reply to the Hon. J. H. Hammond, of South Carolina, in the Senate, March 20, 1858, on the Bill to Admit Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution
1v. Washington: Buell & Blanchard, 1858
Wilson, Henry
Speech of Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts
In 1854 Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which provided for the organization of the Kansas and Nebraska territories without regard to slavery. The author of this bill, Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, argued that the settlers of the territories should be able to vote for or against slavery under a theory known as popular sovereignty. This was a partial repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and a reversal of the public policy that for 34 years kept slavery out of the Midwest and the upper great plains. In response, settlers from the free states and slave states rushed into the territory. Even though Kansas bordered the slave state of Missouri (and the Indian Territory—now Oklahoma—where there was considerable slaveholding), free state settlers quickly outnumber those from the South, who supported slavery. Southerners soon used violence to intimidate northern settlers, including sacking the free state settlement at Lawrence. This soon led to a mini-civil war in Kansas, known as Bleeding Kansas. Despite the free state majority among settlers, Presidents Franklin Pierce (1853–1857) and James Buchanan (1857–1861) wanted Kansas to enter the Union as a slave state and did everything in their power to accomplish that.
In the 1855 territorial elections, thousands of men from Missouri, who supported slavery, crossed to Kansas to vote illegally. This created a completely unrepresentative legislature that was overwhelmingly proslavery, even though the vast majority of settlers in Kansas were northerners opposed to slavery. Proslavery to its core, the Pierce administration recognized the new territorial legislature and urged it to seek statehood. Meanwhile, settlers from free states organized their own legislature and wrote their own constitution, which the Pierce administration declared was illegal. In 1856 the administration charged the leader of the free state community, Charles L. Robinson, the treason and had him arrested. After the presidential election, the Buchanan administration continued to support the government in Lecompton, which in September 1857 wrote a proslavery constitution for the territory. The Lecompton government organized a referendum that was a mockery of popular sovereignty, allowing settlers to vote for the Constitution with permanent slavery or with an eventual ban on new slaves coming into Kansas. Free state settlers boycotted this rigged referendum, and in December the Lecompton government reported that some 6,000 men had voted for the Constitution with permanent slavery. More than half of these votes came from ballots cast by Missourians who crossed into Kansas and illegally voted or by simply ballot box stuffing. Almost all northern settlers boycotted the election. In January the free state “shadow” government in Topeka ran its own referendum, and Constitution failed by a vote of 138 for and 10,226 against.
The Buchanan administration accepted the legitimacy of the Lecompton Constitution, ignoring the evidence of massive fraud in ratifying the constitution. The administration submitted the Constitution to Congress and urging admission of Kansas as a slave state. All Republicans in Congress voted against admitting Kansas, and did some northern democrats. Stephen A. Douglas, the chief sponsor of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, opposed the Constitution as well, because it was patently fraudulent.
On March 4, 1858 Senator James Henry Hammond of South Carolina had given a long speech in favor of Kansas statehood. The speech is often called the “Mudsill” speech because it in Hammond argued that every society must have a permanent lower class at its foundation—like the hardened mudstill of a house—and that the South was lucky enough to have slaves to take that role. It is also called the “Cotton is King” speech because in it Hammond declared that the whole world was indebted to southern slavery: “What would happen if no cotton was furnished for three years? I will not stop to depict what every one can imagine, but this is certain: England would topple headlong and carry the whole civilized world with her, save the South. No, you dare not make war on cotton. No power on earth dares to make war upon it. Cotton is king.”
In his speech Hammond compared white working men to southern slaves and argued that slaves were better treated than white workers.
This document contains a rebuttal to that charge, made by Senator Henry Wilson (1812–1875) of Massachusetts. Wilson was from a working class background. At age ten he was apprenticed to a farmer, and remained there until he was twenty-one when he moved to Natick, Massachusetts, where he became a shoemaker. When he entered politics, his opponents jeered at him, calling him the “Natick Cobbler,” but he turned this to his advantage, becoming the voice of workers, poor people, and reform. He was an early opponent of slavery, and a fierce advocate of public education, secret ballot elections, temperance reform, abolishing imprisonment for debt, and laws to protect mechanics and tradesmen. He support for “free labor” enabled him to merge support from working class voters with abolitionists and temperance voters. Starting in the mid-1850s he would be elected three times to the U.S. Senate as an anti-slavery Republican before becoming Vice President under Ulysses Grant in 1873.
This speech is a classic example of how anti-slavery Republicans defended northern workers while attacking slavery. It dovetails with the Republican campaign slogan of 1856: “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Speech, Free Men.” Wilson would make Kansas permanently “free soil” so free men could labor there and succeed.


Constitutional Amendments, Powers of States: Speech of Hon. Roscoe Conkling, of New York, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, February 22, 1870
1v. Washington: F. & J. Rives & Geo. A. Bailey, 1870
Conkling, Roscoe
 Roscoe Conking (1829–1888) was one of the organizers of the New York Republican Party, and served as a mayor of Utica and as a congressman, until going to the Senate in 1867, where he remained until 1881. He was one of the most powerful politicians of post–Civil War America, and a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 1876 and 1880. Conkling was most famous for dramatic speeches, his striking appearance, and his control of patronage in New York. But he was also a firm and consistent supporter of black civil rights and racial equality. He was also capable of solid legal analysis. This speech reflects these two aspects of his career.

On February 26, 1869 Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment, which prevented discrimination in voting on the basis of race or “previous condition of servitude.” On April 14 New York State became the thirteenth state to ratify the Amendment. However, on January 5, 1870, with Democrats in control of the state legislature, the state rescinded its ratification. Nothing like this had ever happened, and New York’s action raised the profound question of whether it was possible to rescind ratification of an amendment. The New York Democrats made two arguments. First, they claimed that as long as the Amendment was unratified, the amendment was in effect still in play, and thus the state’s ratification could be reversed. The second argument went to the theory of the basis of the United States. The Democrats essentially argued that the nation was a compact of states, and that sovereignty remained with the state. This had been the claim of the seceding southern state a decade earlier. The Senate asked Conkling to report on the process and the validity of New York’s action.

By the time of this speech, February 22, 1870, there were sufficient ratifications to declare the amendment part of the Constitution. He denied that the government of the United States was created by “the states,” and instead asserted that it was a government formed by “we the people.” Thus, the ratification belonged to “the people” and not to the states. He contrasted this theory of the Constitution with that of the Confederate states, who proclaimed in their Constitution, “We, the people of the confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, do ordain and establish this constitution.”

Conkling nevertheless argued that New York could not rescind its ratification, denying that the states had such power. He noted that the states could refuse to ratify an amendment, and then later ratify it. He cleverly compared the process to marriage: “One may refuse to marry, and no matter how often he refuses, still he may marry. But one who has married, cannot at pleasure undo the act, though he may change his mind. Marrying, and unmarrying, are different proceedings. So are ratifying, and un-ratifying, constitutional amendments.” The bottom line for Conkling was that the “whole truth lies in the statement that the Constitution does give the power to ratify, and does not give the power to cancel a ratification. This absence of power, is fatal to the attempt to undo a ratification, whether the attempt be made before three fourths of the States have ratified an amendment, or afterward. At all times, such an attempt is usurpation, not because it is unreasonable, not because it is inexpedient, not because it is illogical, but because it is unauthorized, because no warrant for it exists.”

He ends his speech with an attack on racism and discrimination against blacks and with rhetorical flourish, noting that he is giving it on George Washington’s birthday.


Uncle Tom's Story of His Life: An Autobiography of the Rev. Josiah Henson
1v. London: Christian Age Office, 1876
Henson, Josiah; Lobb, John, Editor
Josiah Henson (1789–1883) was born a slave in Maryland. He was an early convert to Christianity, and as a result became a trusted slave because of his honesty and work ethic. When he was 36 Henson guided about twenty slaves from Maryland to Kentucky. During this trip he crossed into Ohio, but did not seek his own freedom or help liberate the slaves under his authority. He later acquiesced in being sold in the South, but on the trip to New Orleans his master’s son became ill and Henson brought him home to Kentucky. Once again, he did not escape when he might easily have done so. However, a few years later he escaped to Cincinnati with his wife and four children, and eventually made it to Canada where he was a preacher and leader in the community of escaped slaves. From Canada he returned to the South a few times to help guide slaves to freedom. Henson travelled to England in 1849 and 1851, where he met with leading politicians, including Lord John Russell, and other dignitaries.

He published his first autobiography in 1849, as “The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself. He republished it in the United States, updating it, in 1858 and 1879. In both of these versions Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, wrote an introduction. Some people at the time, as some scholars since, have argued that Henson was a model for Uncle Tom in Stowe’s novel. Certainly there are similarities in their lives, although Henson did not become a martyr to save others, and in the end not only escaped bondage, but also helped other slaves to do the same. For Henson the comparison was useful and probably helped sell his autobiography. Stowe’s willingness to endorse the book gives some credibility to her using Henson as something of a model for Uncle Tom.

The volume here was published in England, on Henson’s last visit there in 1876. On that trip he lectured, preached, and was feted. The highlight of the trip was his audience with Queen Victoria, who gave him a photograph of herself in a gold frame. This British edition illustrates the continuing interest in slavery in Great Britain, more than a decade after it had been abolished in the United States.


While browsing Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law, you’ll notice gold stars next to some of the titles. We call them “Editor’s Picks,” which Paul Finkelman, the general editor, has chosen as what he thinks are the most important titles to be found in this collection.

February's Featured Editor's Picks:

Black Code of the District of Columbia, in Force September 1st, 1848
1 v. New York: Published for the A. & F. Anti-Slavery Society, by William Harned, 1848
Snethen, Worthington G.

In the 19th century, the residents of the District of Columbia had political autonomy. A Congressional committee, invariably dominated by Southerners, effectively ruled the city. When it was created the District consisted of two parcels of land, one ceded by Maryland, which constitutes the present-day city of Washington, D.C., and the other which constitutes present-day Alexandria, Virginia. Congress had full power to legislate for the city but often did so by simply adopting laws from Maryland and Virginia and applying them to Washington.  Sometimes there were different laws applicable, especially for slaves, in different parts of the city.  In 1846 Congress and the Virginia legislature agreed to return Alexandria to Virginia.  Thus, the laws of Washington, DC would no longer be a confusing combination of federal statutes, Maryland laws, and a few municipal laws passed by a local legislature under a mayor appointed by the President. The change also provided an opportunity for abolitionists to demonstrate to the nation how slavery had a stranglehold on the national capital. 

Snethen (1805-1884) was born in New York in 1805, but as an adult was an attorney in both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. This book brought together, in one place, all the laws on slavery for D.C., after the retrocession of Alexandria to Virginia.  It would have been useful to lawyers on both sides of the slavery controversy, but for political abolitionists it was a valuable tool for demonstrating the power of slavery in the capital of a nation dedicated to liberty.  The American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, which published this book, was organized by former followers of William Lloyd Garrison who rejected his refusal to participate in politics as well as his penchant for taking on causes (such as women’s rights) that were not directly related to antislavery. The A&FASS Society was more radical than Garrison in arguing that the Constitution could be reinterpreted as an antislavery document and that the law could be used to fight slavery, and at the same time far more conservative than Garrison on tactics and other social issues.  Because Washington, D.C. laws were so confusing, this volume was an important addition to the legal literature of the 1840s as well as to the literature of slavery. It is likely that even proslavery lawyers bought it because it brought together most if not or all of the city’s laws relative to slavery.

Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839
1v. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1863
Kemble, Frances Anne

Frances Anne "Fanny" Kemble (1809-1893) was a British-born actress and author.  In 1832 she began a tour of America, acting and doing readings from great plays. The tour ended in 1834, when she married Pierce M. Butler, the grandson of the first Pierce Butler, a South Carolina delegate to the Constitutional Convention. After her marriage she retired from acting but turned to writing, and a year later published a book about her trip to America, Journal of Frances Anne Butler (2 vols., 1835). Kemble’s husband was a wealthy southern gentleman who lived in Philadelphia, where she met him. But his wealth was based on three plantations and hundreds of slaves in Georgia and inherited lands, slaves, and other property worth about $700,000 (about $17 million in 2016).  In 1838-39, Kemble spent eighteen months with her husband on his plantation on St. Simons Island in the Georgia sea islands. There she was shocked by the treatment of slaves, their punishments, the horrible conditions of their lives, and the many mixed-race children who had apparently been fathered by Butler’s overseers (or even members of the Butler family). She was also deeply bothered by the ways slaves hurried to wait on her and her children. She quickly realized how brutalizing the system was for the slaves, but also how it corrupted the master class. Even before the trip to Georgia she had become a committed abolitionist; her time on the plantation only reconfirmed her growing hatred of slavery.  Shortly after their return from Georgia the marriage began to fall apart, with a separation, and finally a divorce in 1849. Butler wasted most of his fortune, and in 1859 was forced to auction off 459 slaves, which was the largest slave auction in U.S. history.
In 1863 Fanny Kemble published her journal from her time in Georgia, under the title Journal of a Residence of a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839.  Like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Kemble’s journal had a profound influence in England, partly because it was written by a British celebrity. Her detailed first-hand descriptions of the horrors and cruelty of slavery helped influence public opinion against any British support for the Confederacy. Members of Parliament quoted it while debating British policy toward the American Civil War, and along with the Emancipation Proclamation, helped keep Britain neutral in the Civil War, which of course helped the Union cause.  Her book helped move Britain away from any significant relationship with the government in Richmond.  Her journal remains an important primary source for the study of slavery and the American South, as well as for its role in social and even diplomatic history.

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Here is a list of other titles that will be added to the collection in the coming months.

Belle Scott; or, Liberty Overthrown! A Tale for the Crisis
1v. Columbus: D. Anderson, 1856

Facts and Opinions Touching the Real Origin, Character and Influence of the American Colonization Society
1v. Boston: John P. Jewett and Co., 1853
Stebbins, G. B.

Inside View of Slavery: Or a Tour among the Planters
1v. Boston: John P. Jewett and Co., 1855
Parsons, C. G.

Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin; Presenting the Original Facts and Documents upon Which the Story Is Founded, Together with Corroborative Statements Veryfying the Truth of the Work
1v. Boston: Published by John P. Jewett & Co., 1853
Stowe, Harriet Beecher

North-Side View of Slavery: The Refugee: Or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada Related by Themselves
1v. Boston: Published by John P. Jewett & Co., 1856
Drew, Benjamin

Travels in South and North America
1v. London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., 1853
Marjoribanks, Alexander
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