Friday, March 8, 2013

The Anti-Slavery Gag Rule of 1836 - 1844

1836 - 1844: Gag Rule

In the late 1830s, Congress received more than 130,000 petitions from citizens demanding the abolition of slavery in Washington, D.C., and other federally-controlled territories. In 1836, the House passed a resolution to its rules of procedure which banned the discussion of these petitions. The so-called “gag rule” was reinforced in 1839, 1841 and 1843 as part of the rules readopted by the House with each new Congress. However, Representative and former President John Quincy Adams, who considered the gag rule a violation of his constituents’ First Amendment rights, used creative tactics to stir debate on the floor. In 1844, the House repealed the gag rule on a motion made by Adams. (source: The USA Capitol Visitor's Center)

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