Emancipation Petitions

Since the creation of the District of Columbia, antislavery reformers had decried the presence of slavery as a contradiction of the nation's founding principles of freedom, equality, and justice. The nation's capital was a natural target for the early antislavery movement. Constitutionally, Congress controlled the District of Columbia through "exclusive jurisdiction" and could eliminate the slave trade and slavery itself within its borders at any time. Read More...

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