Don E. Fehrenbacher and Ward M. McAfee

in The Slaveholding Republic

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780195158052
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849475 | DOI:

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Shortly after the Supreme Court handed down the Civil Rights Cases in 1883, a mass meeting was called for Lincoln Hall in the nation's capital. Two prominent Republican orators—one black and one white—were the featured speakers. Frederick Douglass—the runaway slave who had become an avid student of the Constitution in the course of his career as an abolitionist—spoke first. Robert G. Ingersoll—highly valued as a Republican orator despite his outspoken atheist views—closed the program. In some ways, the event was a political rally, similar to others that had characterized both the long battle against slavery and the heady early days of Reconstruction. However, this day was different, for everyone present in the hall named for the nation's “Great Emancipator” knew that it marked the end of an era—and not a satisfying conclusion at that. It was a wake without any happy accompanying festivities.

Keywords: Supreme Court; capital; Civil Rights; Republican; orators; Frederick Douglass; Constitution; Robert G. Ingersoll

Chapter.  2013 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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