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"Arming the Slaves" article from the National Anti-Slavery Standard newspaper

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The National Anti-Slavery Standard was the American Anti-Slavery Society's official newspaper. It was published from 1840 to 1870. In early 1865 Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, was desperate to reinforce the army and felt there was only one way to do it--arm the slaves. On February 10, 1865, bills providing for the arming the slaves were introduced both in the House and Senate. Robert M. T. Hunter (1809-1887) had been Speaker of the House of Representatives, and was a Senator from Virginia at the outbreak of the Civil War. He served as the Confederate Secretary of State (1861-1862), and in the Confederate Senate (1862-1865). He opposed the Negro Arming bill and spoke out against it, but he voted for it since he had been instructed to by the Virginia Legislature. He felt this bill contradicted the reasons the South had gone to war since it interfered with the institution of slavery and would emancipate the slaves who joined the army.


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