This Place in History: William Slade


3 STEVE PERKINS. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT TODAY?STEVE: WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT WILLIAM SLADE WHO WAS ONE OF THE VERY EARLY INFLUENTIAL VERMONTERS IN CONGRESS, ESPECIALLY IN REGARDS TO ABOLITION. SO I THINK WE SHOULD GO BACK TO THE STUDIO AND TAKE A LOOK AT THESE AND LEARN ALL ABOUT THIS GUY. STEVE: WILLIAM SLADE WAS REALLY A MAN OF LETTERS. SO I’VE BROUGHT A BUNCH OF LETTERS, WRITTEN MATERIAL THAT TALKS ABOUT HIS LIFE. HE WAS A LAWYER BUT ENTERED POLITICS VERY EARLY OR CIVIL SERVICE AT IT WERE. HE SERVED AT THE STATE LEVEL BEFORE MOVING ON TO THE NATIONAL LEVEL. AMANDA: AND SO WHICH BOOK DO WE WANT TO OPEN FIRST THEN?STEVE: LET’S LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL LEATHER BOUND VOLUME HERE BECAUSE IT’S THE ONE PERIOD PIECE THAT I HAVE. HE WAS SECRETARY OF STATE IN THE 1820S. HE GOT VERY INTERESTED IN THE STATE’S HISTORY AND AS THE STATE, TRANSCRIBED THEM, WROTE COMMENTARY ABOUT THEM AND PUBLISHED THEM IN THIS SINGLE VOLUME. STEVE: HE WAS ELECTED TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE 1830S. NOW IF WE REMEMBER OUR HISTORY GOING ON IN THE 1830S, IT WAS THE ABOLITION MOVEMENT, ESPECIALLY IN THE NORTH WAS REALLY GAINING STEAM. AND THERE WAS THIS WHOLE QUESTION ABOUT FREE SOIL. AND SO AS NEW STATES WERE ADDED TO THIS RAPIDLY EXPANDING COUNTRY, WOULD THOSE STATES BE FREE OF SLAVERY OR WOULD THEY BE SLAVE STATES. HE WAS VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN THAT DEBATE. STEVE: THIS IS A MODERNISH BINDING OF SPEECHES BY FAMOUS VERMONTERS. THIS WAS A SPEECH DONE ON DECEMBER 23, 1835 CALLED THE SUBJECT OF THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE THAT THE RIGHT TO HOLD MEN AS GOODS AND CHATTEL SUBJECT TO SALE AND TRANSFER AT THE WILL OF A MASTER SHOULD CEASE AND BE DISCONTINUED INSTANTLY AND FOREVER. STEVE: VERY FEW CONGRESSMEN HAD THE GUTS TO STAND UP AND SAY IT. EVERYONE TALKED AROUND THE SUBJECT. ULTIMATELY, CONGRESS PASSED A GAG ORDER. THE GAG ORDER SAID WE WILL NOT DEBATE SLAVERY ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE ANYMORE. IT MADE SLADE MAD ENOUGH THAT BY THE END OF THE YEAR HE WENT AROUND THE SUBJECT. SO HE SAID WE HAVE U.S. CONGRESS AND IT WAS SAYING YOU CAN’T TALK ABOUT SLAVERY. ULTIMATELY HE WAS DEFEATED AND VOTED DOWN, BUT A GREAT VOICE FOR THE COMPLETE ABOLISHING OF SLAVERY. AMANDA; DID HE LIVE TO SEE THAT HAPPEN? STEVE: UNFORTUNATELY HE DIDN’T. HE DIED IN 1859 RIGHT BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR BROKE OUT. AMANDA: WAS CONGRESS THEN THE END OF HIS PUBLIC SERVICE CAREER?STEVE:I THINK IT WAS THE END OF WHAT HE SAW WAS HIS INFLUENTIAL PUBLIC SERVICE CAREER. HE DID SERVE TWO TERMS AS GOVERNOR OF VERMONT IN THE 1840S. AND THEN HE RETIRED FROM PUBLIC SERVICE.AT THIS PLACE IN HISTORY. 3 3

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