Hat tip: Tenth Amendment Center
by Steve Palmer
22. Feb, 2010
It might be instructive to look at how Pennsylvania dealt with the issue of slavery in our early history. This topic is useful, because in retrospect it is perfectly clear which side was morally right.
So, this week I learned a little bit about the history of anti-slavery laws and sentiment in early Pennsylvania. I have only scratched the surface, so we will probably revisit this topic in the future. It may be that Pennsylvania’s activities, in support of Liberty for blacks in early America, can contribute to our Tenth Amendment roadmap for the future.
The first ever American resolution against slavery was issued from Pennsylvania in 1688. The University of Houston quotes the Germantown Petition against slavery as saying, “…In Europe there are many oppressed for conscience-sake; and here there are those oppressed which are of a black colour….Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse…”. The Germantown Petition, although largely ineffective, was passed among the Quaker communities in Pennsylvania.
Anti-slavery sentiment in Pennsylvania grew during the following years. Numerous writings against slavery, by various Quaker authors, were published in Ben Franklin’s Philadelphia newspaper. Pennsylvania abolished slavery, using a gradual phase-out starting in 1780, and George Washington commented in 1786 that “once slaves got to the Pennsylvania/West Jersey area, they became nearly impossible to find and retrieve”.