89 Nw. U. L. Rev. 785 (1994-1995)
Issue 3

handle is hein.journals/illlr89 and id is 805 raw text is: Copyright 1995 by Northwestern University. School of Law    Printed in U.S.A.
Northwestern University Law Review                            Vol. 89, No. 3
THE CURIOUS HISTORY OF ATTEMPTS TO
SUPPRESS ANTISLAVERY SPEECH,
PRESS, AND PETITION IN 1835-37
Michael Kent Curtis*
I.  Introduction  ...............................................  786
II. Historical Background .................................... 790
A. From the Revolution to the 1830s .................... 790
B. The 1830s ................................. 796
III. The Issues of 1835-37: the Post, Petitions, and Political
Liberty of Speech and Press ............................... 802
A. The Case for Suppression ............................. 802
B. Types of Suppression .................................. 804
1. Northern Approval of the Southern Quarantine... 805
2. Northern Action with Reference to Abolition:
Efforts at Persuasion .............................. 807
3. Northern Action Against Abolition: Coercion .... 809
4. An Uncertain Trumpet: The Calls for Legal Action
Against Abolitionists .............................. 813
C. Three Controversies: The Post, Proposed Northern
Anti-Abolition Laws, and the Petition Controversy ... 817
1. The Postal Campaign, and the Political,
Administrative, and Legislative Response ......... 817
2. The Move to Suppress Abolition in the North .... 836
3. Petitions ................................ 846
D. Possible Categories Justifying Suppression ............   849
1.  Treason  ............................................  849
2.  Seditious Libel  ....................................  850
3.  Group  Libel .......................................  854
4. Prosecution Under the Common Law ............. 855
5. Extradition-Prosecution of Northerners Under
Southern  Laws  ....................................  856
IV. The Defense of Free Speech .............................. 859
A. The Abolitionist Defense of Freedom ................. 859
* Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law. I wish to thank Professors
Harry Watson, Paul Escott, Paul Finkelman, William Van Alstyne, David Logan, Ronald Wright,
Akhil Amar, Tom Curtis, and Alan Palmiter for comments on an earlier draft of this article. The
shortcomings are my own. I particularly wish to thank Paul Goodson for research assistance.

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