hearts and minds

February 14, 2011

Slavery, the Civil War, and Early Ozaukee and Washington Counties (Wisconsin) History

Wisconsin had just became a state, prior to the Civil War, when Joshua Glover was apprehended alone, by an overpowering number of men, and locked up in southeast Wisconsin in 1854, after putting up a terrific and valiant fight, charged with having escaped from slavery in another state.  He was bound in irons and held, awaiting an armed federal escort platoon to return him to a cruel fate to be determined at the sole discretion of the “Party” that claimed ownership of him. Sherman Booth was the founder and editor of the Abolitionist newspaper, the American Freeman (later to become, under corporate ownership and very different editorial policy, the current Waukesha Freeman).  Sherman Booth led a group of Wisconsinites that burst in and effected Joshua Glover’s release from guards and restraints, and made good Glover’s escape via the famed “Underground Railway” to Canada and freedom.

The courageous editor of the American Freeman was subsequently arrested by federal authorities on a charge of violating the Fugitive Slave Act, which obliged anyone (even a resident of a state that prohibited slavery) to cause the physical capture, and return to her or his “rightful owner”, any person who had escaped from slavery in another state, and had somehow succeeded in getting to a so-called “free” state.  But across Wisconsin there was an uproar of outrage, due to widespread and strong opposition to slavery, and especially to the detested Fugitive Slave Act.  The Wisconsin supreme court ordered the release of Booth on a writ of habeas corpus, whereupon the U.S. supreme Court issued a warrant for Booth’s re-arrest. At this point, the Wisconsin legislature, in defense of Booth and of Wisconsin’s perceived interests, approved 1859 Enrolled Joint Resolution 4, which denounced the action of the U.S. supreme Court as “an arbitrary act of power” and declared it “void, and of no force”.  The Wisconsin legislature thus affirmed the supreme court of Wisconsin, ordered Booth’s immediate release, and famously asserted that, “the government formed by the Constitution of the United States was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself”.  Booth was not returned to prison, and the federal government abandoned its challenge of that 1859 resolution of the Wisconsin legislature, BUT Not a single legislator (of the five senators and assemblymen) representing Ozaukee and Washington counties voted with the majority, in favor of this legislation, which was widely recognized, both then and now, as an anti-slavery, pro-human rights, and (interestingly) pro-states rights resolution.

[Note: For centuries, the legal concepts of “states rights” (along with “property rights”) have invariably been cited in the U.S. as justification for opposition to efforts to establish, defend, or extend human rights and civil rights.  “States rights” and “property rights” were cited as a smokescreen argument against the abolition of slavery in the 1700s and 1800s, and have been employed as a smokescreen argument against enforcement of the 14th and 15th Amendments with regards to civil rights, including voting rights, for the entire 150 years since slavery was technically abolished.  Paradoxically, “states rights” happened to have been on the same side as “human rights” in this particular Glover/Booth case, in Wisconsin.  That fact ‘smoked out’ the crass core truth of the pro-slavery and the property-rights-trump-human-rights motivations of those who had been camouflaging themselves as harmless but stalwart defenders of the abstract principle of “states rights” against the “intrusions” of the federal government.]

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Abraham Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery in the United States, and spoke publicly and critically about slavery.  That’s why slaveholders and others who profited from and defended slavery – mysteriously including ALL of the officials representing Ozaukee and Washington counties during the 1850’s and 1860’s – so vehemently opposed his nomination and election for President.  Lincoln won election in 1860 and re-election in 1864 as President of the United States, both in the nation and overwhelmingly in WisconsinBUTOzaukee and Washington counties resoundingly rejected Abraham Lincoln for President in both elections with vote margins in districts ranging from 3 to 1, up to 8 to 1, against Lincoln.

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In April, 1861, Fort Sumter was attacked and taken by secessionist armed forces of the slave-holding states.  This was the infamous “first shot” fired in what became America’s Civil War.  The Wisconsin legislature quickly passed an emergency measure to materially support and “protect the federal government” from this blatant military attack, and commencement of all-out war – BUTBoth state senators who represented Ozaukee and Washington counties were among the eight (out of 28 total senators voting) who voted against this desperately needed emergency measure.

……………………………………………………………….

The only armed insurrection against the federal government during wartime that has ever occurred in Wisconsin, occurred in Ozaukee County during the Civil War Over a hundred Ozaukee County residents were incarcerated at Camp Randall following this failed uprising.  How’s that for ‘patriotic loyalty to ones country’?

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Following the Civil War, three Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which defined the America we now know, were proposed by the Congress and passed to the states for ratification.  All three amendments were resoundingly ratified by the states.  The Wisconsin legislature, of course, ratified these three critically important, transforming amendments.

The 13th Amendment, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery in the United States of America.
(96 out of 117 Wisconsin legislators voted to ratify the momentous 13th Amendment.)

The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1867, defined citizenship in the United States and prohibited any state from depriving any person of the basic, essential rights of due process and equal protection of the law. Prior to this Amendment, the Constitution allowed each separate state to define citizenship, and only required the federal government (not the individual states) to respect those important rights.
(91 out of 111 WI legislators voted to ratify the 14th Amendment.)

The 15th Amendment, ratified in 1869, prohibited any state from denying the right to vote to anyone on the basis of race, color, or “previous condition of servitude”.
(77 of 117 Wisconsin legislators ratified.)

BUTEvery state senator that represented Ozaukee County and Washington County during those five years voted without exception against ratifying all three of these basic human rights Amendments.  No assemblyman representing Ozaukee County voted to ratify any of these Amendments.

Think about and absorb this remarkable legislative history. Ask yourself and each other why that truth has been buried so long and so deep.

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More Wisconsin residents died in combat in the Civil War than the total that have died in ALL other armed conflicts in which the United States has ever engaged – combined!  BUT – as far as I have been able to ascertain, No civic memorials to the Civil War or to those who died in combat in it, were raised in Ozaukee or Washington counties during the one hundred long years that followed that War.  How’s that for “Support the Troops”?

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The facts noted in the above instances were researched using only primary sources, including the official, hand-written Wisconsin Legislative Record, and the official Wisconsin Blue Book tabulations.  Anyone can verify the facts that are summarized here using those primary sources.  It is also important to note here that no instances that would contradict the pattern that is implied by the preceding compilation were discovered by the research used in preparing this very brief paper.

I don’t believe the explanation that I have heard for pro-slavery, anti-human rights legislative actions – alleging that newly arrived German and Irish immigrants were against the abolition of slavery because they were afraid that freeing the slaves would threaten their jobs and livelihoods.  I don’t believe it because such immigrants filled Wisconsin, not just Ozaukee and Washington counties, and the statewide record in the matters noted above stands in stark contrast to the record in Ozaukee and Washington counties, and a few other pockets of reaction.  And I don’t believe it because the great majority of the new immigrants from Europe had braved a dangerous voyage to an uncertain future in an unfamiliar land.  They weren’t fearful people, afraid that other people who were even more severely oppressed here than the conditions they had suffered from in Europe might become liberated.  The great preponderance of those farming ancestors, who settled right here in the year Wisconsin became a state were far more unsettled by the thought of moving to a nation in which large numbers of human beings were brutally enslaved, than by worries that a nation where all people were free, with basic rights, would for some strange reason be harder for them to make a living in than a nation where many of those working were not free, and were not compensated for their labor.  The historical record of Wisconsin, taken as a whole, proves that is true without a doubt.

As far as those pockets of resistance to a brighter future, those pockets of resistance to advancing and defending basic human rights, those pockets of resistance to the arc of history moving towards justice – they existed here and there, around the entire country.  And they persist to this dayYou and I might even live in one of those pockets.

The question we should ask is “Why?”  Why were Ozaukee and Washington county legislators and actions so out of step with Wisconsin as a whole, and so lock-step aligned with slavery adherents?  It’s understandable (that doesn’t make it right, but it’s understandable) why wealthy white plantation owners in a slave state – and even perhaps the white citizens, in general, of a slave state – would defend, for a while, the history and the continued existence of the brutal, horrible institution of slavery.  Their local and regional economy had grown to depend on slavery, and their “culture” and daily lives had become long accustomed to slavery.  But that wasn’t the case in Wisconsin.  So the question “WHY?” remains, with regards to these anomalous pockets of resistance, here and there.  The answer may not be easy to find, but we owe it to ourselves and to the future to find it.

We know that if a chronic abuser (whether a substance abuser, or spousal abuser or child abuser, or other bullying human rights abuser, torturer, and exploiter) is not stopped and compelled to correct his behavior and attitude, that abuser will continue, and get worse, and the sickness will spread and be passed on from each generation to the next.  That may be as true of entire communities and regions, as it is true of individuals.  If we don’t face and examine the truth, but instead, ignore, deny, rewrite, and tolerate sanitized and false history, and refuse to provide the truth to succeeding generations, we perpetuate harm to them, to ourselves, and to others.

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Newly published historical research on the legacy of slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Milwaukee area

Patrick Jones, Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska, is the young author of this important, carefully researched, beautifully well written, Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee“.  The Milwaukee County Historical Society awarded it the “Best Book of 2009”, and the Wisconsin State Historical Society presented its 2010 Merit Award to Dr. Jones research.  Especially if you make your home in Wisconsin, you ought to have this volume on your shelf (when it’s not in your hands or on loan to someone.)

During 2010 there (was) a free exhibit of the national traveling exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the “Freedom Riders”, in the Daniel M. Soref Learning Commons at 2311 E. Hartford Ave. in Milwaukee (UWM Libraries).  Also on view in the Learning Commons was an exhibit drawn from materials that are included in the UWM Libraries March on Milwaukee: Civil Rights History Project“.  The extremely well done American Experience film Freedom Riders appeared on public TV.  I learned a lot that I didn’t know about this very dangerous and courageous direct challenge to Jim Crow laws and about specific official collusion with, and covering for, white supremacist terrorism.

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16 Comments »

  1. Thanks Clyde. I like how you tied it in to the abuser mentality. You mentioned that this was a “sample” in your newsletter, so I assume there is more? Perhaps something to tie the “property ownership trumps human rights” to the current state of Ozaukee as the richest county? I hate to see things go the route of the “haves” vs. the “have nots”, though. In other discussions, it inevitably leads to the “tax the rich” philosophy, when the real root of the problem IMHO is that people of all stripes are not giving more back than they take. To quote Raj Patel, “The opposite of consumption is not frugality, it’s generosity.”
    The propertied elite sometimes respond to disasters by putting their accumulated wealth into rebuilding towns or factories. They sometimes respond by retiring and selling their “intellectual property” to another company. One way reflects that they feel some sense of community, the other is a reflection of a sad, isolationist way of thinking. Profits or not, the idea that “success” means isolation(subdivisions, mini-plantations, limousines, exclusive clubs) instead of response ability lies deep in our cultural stupidity.

    AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM?

    One of the characteristics of this area is the wealth per capita; the number of “winners” in the cultural stupidity we call “capitalism”. We are taught early on in the western world that it’s all about “winning” and “losing”, especially by the winners. They create the rules of the competition, they own the property. When they couldn’t make people work through whips and chains, they simply took over the trade systems (often using government regulations to make things “fair”) so that anyone who existed in this system was required to have money. By preventing organized labor, they keep the ability to determine how much wealth is returned to those who create it. By constantly threatening to “outsource jobs”, they keep the competitive fears alive, even when the masses need to cooperate.
    We really need to break the myths that “competition brings progress” and “progress means wealth.” These two beliefs create the religion of “Opportunity”, which is really the worship of Exploitation.

    Comment by Dan C — February 14, 2011 @ 8:33 am | Reply

  2. Clyde: Positing that the thinking of Ozaukee County legislators was based on one or more “principles” won’t uncover an answer. Evil-doers throughout history have cited “principle” as the basis of their actions or inactions. I think the elephant in the room in all of these instances of wrong voting is fear and ignorance. In Ozaukee County (as in Lake Wobegon) we believe we are “above average,” and way smarter than lesser folk who live in the rural South, Detroit, Chicago (except maybe Wilmette or the Gold Coast), the ghetto (any ghetto), or lesser places like Glendale. Dig a little deeper and discover that the monster at the heart of it is fear of people who, we believe, aren’t like us. Belief in one’s superiority justifies acts of oppression. Living that lie begets cruelty and crimes against humanity. That’s my take on it.

    Thanks for your work

    Comment by Howard H — February 14, 2011 @ 10:11 am | Reply

    • I agree, Howard, that positing that legislators base their thinking and actions on “principles” won’t explain why they do what they do. And I also agree that ignorance and fear are powerful negative forces, always have been, and will likely always afflict us, in some measure. However, I would assert that the elephant in the room in Ozaukee and Washington counties (and other similar pockets around our country and the world), is the powerful vested interests that encourage and exploit those fears and ignorance, that intimidate and mislead the people, and that fail to face and correct their own corrupted and abusive nature, and so perpetuate and spread it.

      Comment by clydewinter — February 14, 2011 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

  3. Well done Clyde. The fundamental question of why things don’t change over time usually comes down to who is benefiting from the status quo.

    Comment by Lex Tinker-Sackett — February 14, 2011 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  4. Hi Howard! Long time no see.
    Was just discussing the ‘herd’ with someone else. Exclusivity is a fundamental aspect of any group. We live in a country where everyone is, by law, equal, yet we are supposed to ‘defend American interests’ around the globe. This creates an oxymoron. The herd cannot be exclusive (establish identity) if it denies that it has one, and conversely, any group that has an obvious identity (white vs. black) cannot deny their differences. Belief that one’s herd is superior is merely an exaggeration of “different”. In nature, there’s a value to identity with the group and exclusivity of those not in the group.
    In humans, there may or may not be some useful value to exclusive groups (other than to those in the group), but we won’t find it as long as the discussion doesn’t get past money, color, and property ownership.

    Comment by Dan C — February 14, 2011 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

  5. Thanks, Clyde, for this interesting research and understanding of how Ozaukee and Washington Counties continue to be affected by such inhumane thoughts and actions. Will we ever learn the truth that owning prejudice and denial of human rights are counterproductive to achieving the kind of society most people really want?

    Comment by Dale L — February 14, 2011 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  6. Sorry to be a bore in the comments today, but it’s a great topic, and I’ve had some of these discussions lately…
    Dale wrote “counterproductive to achieving the kind of society most people really want?”

    In support of Dale’s comment, I recommend this article about what kind of “fairness” Americans really want to have. Survey says, “not like the situation we’ve got”.

    Comment by Dan C — February 14, 2011 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  7. I think this is a really important piece. You wrote it well and researched it on your own. And you put a lot of pieces together in a pattern that should not be ignored.

    Comment by Ms. Teree V. — February 14, 2011 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  8. Glad you put this piece together. Reminds me of Eckhart Tolle’s concept of the “pain-body” and inherited dysfunction. Is it the electors, choosing to vote such people into power? Or is it that such people are the ones to predominantly rise up and run for office, and their supporters the main ones who come out to vote?

    Comment by Laurel K — February 16, 2011 @ 4:35 am | Reply

    • Was it Diodotus who showed that people vote for those who spread discontent (the bullies)? I’m not sure. Anyway, the basic premise that people know what they are doing is part of the problem. fMRI scans show that most actions are taken in response to stimuli, with the brain going into overdrive afterward to come up with a reason why it did what it did. In other words, “People do stuff. They have reasons for doing stuff. In that order.”
      When we collectively realize this (unlikely in a herd mentality that continues to believe there is such a thing as “meaning” to what we do), perhaps my Random Party will come into power (representatives chosen by random means, just like jury duty), and we can do away with all election politics and stick to purposeful debates on actual needs and problems.

      Comment by Dan C. — February 16, 2011 @ 9:16 am | Reply

      • You make good points, Dan. I have to agree.

        It is both the bullies pulling the strings, and we who don’t know what we are doing and who let them pull those strings, that are trashing the future and the planet.

        I also seriously like thinking about your idea of random selection of legislators and judicial panels and municipality representatives from a simple list of all citizens in order to represent us.

        I guess we should still elect the executive administrators, like Governor and President. One bad apple there could be pretty destructive – unless our Congress would be ready, willing, and able to use impeachment as provided in the Constitution. But those must be publicly financed elections, with ONLY real, live “persons” who are citizens, permitted to participate in all aspects of those elections. And all we need is a general election, if we’re to have any elections. Eliminate party caucuses and primaries that now pre-select the two people who we then are forced to choose between. Instant Runoff Voting eliminates the need for primaries and it eliminates the need for run-off elections. Instant Runoff Voting allows you to rank the candidates for Governor or President or any office in the order you think best, without throwing your vote away – not just thumbs-up for the lesser of two evils. Instant Runoff Voting ensures that the winner of the election is the person that is most preferred by the majority of the people voting. What a radical idea! (The two parties won’t like that, and the corporations and the lobbyists won’t like that, but you and me and everyone else will love it!) Replacing elections of legislators and judicial panels and lesser offices with random selection, and electing the President/VP and Governor/LtGov with public financing of Instant Runoff Elections, would also save taxpayers more money than we can even imagine – starting with replacing the never-ending procession of “non-partisan” and primary and run-off and off-year elections with one simple general IRV election every four years.

        In the case of the legislatures, random selection would sure put a serious crimp in favoritism, in nepotism, in buying and selling of both front-door and back-door access to the power of government offices, and in professional politicians and corporate lobbyists stroking each other, and chasing each other through the notorious revolving door – not to mention in putting an end to these intelligence-insulting, obscenely costly and corrupting election campaigns.

        It’s definitely worth trying, giving everyone a real chance to serve with random selection, and it couldn’t possibly give us worse government than we currently get from our evolved method of dipping blindly from two pools of excessively egotistical and ambitious pre-approved elitists.

        Comment by clydewinter — February 16, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

      • I like the Instant Runoff Voting also, exclusively public financed (not even one’s own money can be used).

        I’ll have to think of this in terms of checks and balances. I was trying to come up with an explanation of control from the bottom-up which allows localities to recall any of the random representatives and have them replaced with another random choice, and also to monitor the system for anomalies (statistics would show if the choices over time were not really random, but you need something immediate for feedback).

        Comment by Dan C. — February 18, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  9. Thanks for alerting me to this very interesting topic. The picture it paints is not pretty and you’re right: we need to continually examine our beliefs and assumptions. Where did you have to go to ferret out this information?

    Comment by dorothy b — February 18, 2011 @ 11:33 am | Reply

    • I used original sources, including Wisconsin’s Blue Books from all the way back, and Wisconsin’s Legislative Record. The research done to attain the data needed for this summary essay required a lot of time and study. As I was looking into it, I was surprised that the record was so unambiguous and one-sided, and that the bottom line summary was therefore so simple for me to present and for the reader to comprehend.

      Blue books were employed to determine which legislative districts encompassed Ozaukee and Washington counties, and which particular individuals represented those districts during the particular sessions in which the legislation of interest was considered and voted upon. The identifications and the boundaries of a legislative district have changed often over the years due to state and congressional and court-ordered reapportionment.

      Even though the population has dramatically increased during the years since Wisconsin became a state, the number of state senators (now 33) and the number of assembly representatives (now 99) have remained almost constant since statehood.

      The Legislative Record was employed to locate the legislation (identification and session in which it was considered and acted upon) and what happened when it was considered, and to determine, as far as possible, how particular legislators acted while it was being considered.

      Interestingly, how a particular legislator voted on the final reading of a bill does not necessarily reveal whether that legislator actually favored or opposed the legislation, when its fate was under consideration but not yet determined. On occasion, legislators have taken a leading and active role in opposing (or on the other hand supporting) a bill, with votes and motions while the bill is in committee hearings, and votes and motions on the floor, only to completely reverse his stand, for the record, with his vote on the final reading of the bill – after the final outcome has already been determined.

      Comment by clydewinter — February 18, 2011 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  10. Edward Saloman and the Port Washington Draft Riot: Civil War Politics vs Gubernatorial Duty by Theodore Storm
    Slumbering Hatreds and Animosities: a review of the origins of the Ozaukee draft riot of 1862 Michael Kwas
    Report of the Adjutant General 1862
    Wi Doomsday Book General Studies Vol 11 Four WI Counties Prairie and Forest
    Civil War Times June 1998
    These above 5 resources were searched by 2 members of the Port Washington Historical Society who could not find ANY evidence that the riot was motivated by anti-emancipation sentiments.
    Ozaukee County and Washington County separated in 1853. The riot was in 1862
    These immigrants were here only 10 or 20 years at the time of the protest. Their native language did not even have a vocabulary to encompass this unique American experience. They did not have any real time experience living here during the centuries of slavery. They had just left their homelands to be free of conscription and were farmers, not unskilled laborers. They could not afford the time away from the 24/7 duties of farming. And to assume we know what they were thinking on the trip over is a fool’s trip.
    According to the Report of the Adjutant General 1862 Ozaukee County had been subjected to the draft of 1229 people. For the smallest county this was a larger request than other counties. Washington was at 2282. This was unjust in view of their dependence on the farm labor of their men. They viewed the service as a huge disruption to their livelihood
    Ozaukee county immigrant farmers were incensed by what they perceived as an unfair enrollment numbers. The governor’s party were conspicuously absent from the list. As quoted in the Wi Daily Patriot “what had caused the trouble was not a desire to shirk responsibility but a belief, which is common, that the governor had exempted half the men of the county who should be liable for service”. They were taking exception to the unfair large quotas. Governor Salomen was an immigrant himself from Prussia. He ran on an antidraft, anti tax platform playing on the fears of the electorate and he won by 200 votes. Ozaukee County voted in favor of him thinking they would avoid the draft. These newly elected officials could not have prevented it and the protestors felt it was fraud at the State’s highest level. The protestors were launched against an authority that was represented by a religious and ethnic group. The Luxembourgers and Germans were frustrated with the Protestant Free Masons.
    Wisconsin Doomsday Book General Studies volii, Four WI Counties Prairie and Forest by Joseph Shafer, ”The widespread dissatisfaction with enforced military service, which urged so many to emigrate, had given a distinctly pacifist tinge to the German and Luxembourg people”
    In Slumbering Hatreds and Animosities by Michael Kwas, the draft revolt was due to the fact that some were able to buy out of the draft. The only perspectives retained are of those against whom the protest was directed. We have no records of the protestorss so we cannot really assess what the protestors were thinking. We can see the banners that said NO DRAFT. The banners did not say NO TO EMANCIPATION. I’ve carried banners protesting the draft. I’m not sure I wouldn’t have been a raft resistor in the 1860’s.
    The slave, Glover, was freed on a writ of habeas corpus. When the “rioters” were detained, Lincoln had already suspended the writ. Honorable Ed Stanton on Jan13.1863 stated that the president did not have the right to suspend the writ in WI and declare martial law, subjecting the draft resistors to trial by court martial. “I recommend that the prisoners be discharged to avoid a conflict between civil and military authority.”
    We may forever disagree on this but one thing I cannot fathom; placing the burden of racism on the shoulders of newly arrived immigrants and “understanding” how the owners of the slaves and the white people could tolerate this heinous endeavor , I for one cannot fathom what mental gymnastics one must go thru to approve owning people. But I can understand draft resistance and protests against it. If we are to live the examined life, let it be truthful.

    Comment by BonBon — March 12, 2011 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

    • Thank you very much for your study and for your comments.

      I quite clearly did NOT assert or imply in my article that the armed insurrection that occurred in Ozaukee County during the Civil War was motivated by anti-emancipation sentiments. Please read again the very brief section on that incident. It does not in any fashion whatsoever attempt to ascribe a motive to that insurrection, because my research of primary sources had not permitted me to draw such conclusions, and because I did not choose to simply parrot secondary sources for my very brief article.

      The number you cite regarding the draft imposed on Wisconsin, and the counties and communities, with the implication of an unfair discrepancy, may well be true. However, if there was a discrepancy that appeared to particularly disadvantage Ozaukee and Washington counties, it may have been occasioned by a prior severely unfair discrepancy (in the exact opposite direction) in the number of volunteer forces contributed to the war effort by those counties compared to the rest of the state, prior to the imposition of the draft, which became necessary due to the length and severity of the Civil War. For example, reports from that era indicate that the “Cedarburg Rifles”, an Ozaukee County militia, was officially disbanded by local notable Captain F. Horn, at the outset of the Civil War, rather than allow them to volunteer to serve in the war. But that is derived from secondary sources, and I used only primary sources for my research.

      The rest of your surmises and evidence about the insurrection are a bit unclear, although interesting, quite plausible, and discussed extensively by various secondary sources during subsequent periods, with different interpretations, anecdotes, and motivations. I will neither contradict nor concur with your assertions at this time, and maybe never. From my personal experience and observations, favoritism and injustice in a military draft would not surprise me in the least. I cannot comment on the particulars of such injustice (who, what, when, why, how) because I do not know. I do know that the armed insurrection against the federal government during wartime occurred in Ozaukee County, and nowhere else in Wisconsin. I also know that the draft occurred everywhere in Wisconsin. And the “old country” experience of German immigrants of similar status and period of immigration, was likely pretty similar from one county of Wisconsin to the next. The degree of difficulties experienced on arrival and settling in were probably, on average, pretty similar for German immigrants across the state, so I doubt that those settling in Ozaukee County were radically different, on average, in their experiences before, during, and after immigration, than those settling in other counties. I assume that the draft was probably equally unfair in all counties unless one county experienced local anomalies that made it particularly and egregiously unfair, or (on the other hand) meticulously just. The (appointed?) coroner, for example, who was charged with examining young men, and granting deferments for medical reasons, might, in one county or another, be exceedingly unfair (corrupt, even) in exempting persons from military service who were connected to powerful and influential local families. This sort of extreme unfairness could certainly cause very severe dissatisfaction, or worse. It did result in a statewide public demand that county coroners be elected, rather than appointed. It is very possible (in my opinion) that a local perception of extreme unfairness in the military draft could be at least a major contributing reason for the insurrection in 1862 in Ozaukee County. Note: an armed insurrection is not merely a “protest” (your word).

      I am absolutely certain that you are wrong in asserting that escaped slave Joshua Glover was freed by a writ of habeas corpus. Glover was freed by a band of Abolitionists who broke in to the place where he was being held in irons against his will, and helped spirit him out of the country and to freedom in Canada. The leader of that very large band of Abolitionists was the publisher and editor of the American Freeman, Sherman Booth, who was released from incarceration when the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a writ of habeas corpus. I have found definitely conflicting accounts of various particulars of the incident in different sources, but I have never before come across an account that asserts (as you did) that the ex-slave Glover was freed by a court decision. Also, despite your confusing implication, that 1854 incident (and the granting of a writ of habeas corpus by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to Sherman Booth) had no legal relationship whatsoever to the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus (specifically authorized by section 9 of Article I of the Constitution) with regards to those persons incarcerated at Camp Randall following the armed insurrection in Ozaukee County that occurred eight years later during the Civil War.

      Aside from those few specific technical particulars which I have just outlined, I neither disagree nor agree with your narration and your perspective. I do, however disagree with your implication that my brief, carefully and narrowly stated summary of research from primary sources about the actual legislative record means that I am “placing the burden of racism on the shoulders of newly arrived immigrants …” My own direct ancestors were immigrants in 1848 to Ozaukee County, and they established our family farm. I do not know how they felt about slavery, Lincoln, the Fugitive Slave Act, the Civil War, the Ozaukee insurrection, and ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. I also do not know how all the others who were here in those years felt and acted at the time about these issues. I merely reported in this article what is indisputably on the legislative record. Draw conclusions from these facts if you wish, but I have not done so in this report. I have just turned on the light and said, “Look over there, in that dusty corner”.

      And I definitely object to the implication (unless I greatly misunderstand you) of your concluding sentence that I was being in any way less than truthful. I stand by my careful research of primary sources, and the precise language I used to summarize it. I meant nothing more and nothing less than exactly what I wrote.

      Comment by clydewinter — March 14, 2011 @ 1:26 am | Reply


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