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A Planter’s Address to His Fellow Citizens, Broadside, 179?


In 1790 the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society, led by Benjamin Franklin, submitted a plea to Congress to end slavery. Congress considered the petition and formed a committee for further examination. They debated what was and was not within their powers to change and ultimately decided not to act on the petition. Although the petition was rejected, the male author of this document is angry that it was ever debated to begin with as he feels Congress ignored constitutional restrictions.

Definition: Broadsides were posters, announcing events or proclamations, or simply advertisements. 

Citation: A plain planter begs leave to ask his fellow citizens a few questions. Hummel, R.O. South eastern broadsides. Library of Virginia Manuscripts & Special Collections Broadside Collection, Richmond, VA



Suggested Questions

Analyze: What fears does the author express? Use the author's targeted fears to build a profile. You are encouraged to make speculations regarding age, occupation, race, place of residence, and any other relevant biographic information.

Up for Debate: The following text originates from Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution: "The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person."
With a partner, argue whether or not Congress, by considering the submitted petition, violated the Constituion. What is within Congress' power to change? What is outside of their powers?


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