Rebellion May 26, 1836     
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Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol
Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol was the scene of Adams' great debates on the gag rule -- and also the scene of his death in 1848.  Carol Highsmith - Permission requested.
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Under the guise of discussing the war, Adams found that he could actually argue about the forbidden topic of slavery. His rhetoric caused a monumental stir in Congress. In 1836, his words on the war agitated colleagues to the brink of violence. In his most daring foray, Adams asserted a seemingly simple legal theory that wildly provoked the southern representatives. Adams claimed that under war powers, the Army could liberate slaves in rebellion, such as the Black Seminoles in Florida. This idea shook the South to its core. Congress severely rebuked the representative from Massachusetts, but his idea gained a life of its own. It would surface again in the life of the Black Seminoles, and ultimately in one of the great moments of American history, the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.*

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Sources: Twyman 135, Miller Arguing 207-9.
Part 2, War: Outline  l  Images

* For more on the connections between Adams, the Black Seminoles, and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, jump ahead to Jesup's Proclamation in 1838 or to the lengthy segment in Freedom: 1850-1882 discussing the Lincoln, the war power, and the Emancipation Proclamation, covering connections from 1836-1863.
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 - War: 1832-1838
+ Prelude to War
+ Revenge
spacer spacer War Erupts
Key Actors
Slave Uprising
Army Response
National Mood
Seminole Success
+ Deceit
+ Liberty or Death
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 + Freedom: 1850-1882
 + Legacy & Conclusion