Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson - The Fugitive Slave Law Summary & Analysis

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The Fugitive Slave Law Summary and Analysis

Emerson attacks Daniel Webster for his tireless and vigorous support of slavery, in the form of the Fugitive Slave Law. The law reinforced the right of slaveholders to find, apprehend and return runaway slaves to their plantations. The thrust of Webster's argument is his acceptance that slavery is an established practice in America and that it should be allowed to continue, according to Emerson. Webster, a man of learning and great intellect, betrayed his reputation and the right-thinking citizens of Massachusetts by, in effect, throwing a Molotov Cocktail into the building inferno of controversy over slavery, Emerson says. The transcendentalist does not argue that Webster is deficient in oratorical or polemical skills, or wanting in worldly experience, but simply declares Webster wrong for siding with slavery. Although a major thought leader and public figure such...

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This section contains 165 words
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Buy the Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Study Guide
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