Appeals for Help
Jesup made his arguments in a capital more divided than ever, thanks in no small measure to the Black Seminoles' best friend in Congress, Joshua Giddings. Giddings' 1841 speech calling the Seminole war a government-sponsored foray in slave catching had been widely circulated as an antislavery pamphlet. From that moment on, the Ohio representative became a lightning rod for the South. When he pressed another antislavery case in 1842,
the rights of black mutineers on the slave ship Creole,
southern constituents pressured Congress to censure him severely. The action compelled Giddings to leave the House in disgrace before the close of his term. Within months, however, his Ohio constituents had voted him back by an overwhelming margin. Even Giddings' strongest enemies conceded that his return to Congress later that year was a major victory for the antislavery movement. His dramatic reinstatement effectively killed the gag rule (though it was not officially repealed until 1844), paving the way for open debate on slavery -- and ultimately, for Civil War.
Sources: Giddings Speeches 1-12, Stewart Joshua R. Giddings 62-67, McPherson 177-95, Twyman 150-53.
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