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Debate over slavery in Ohio Senate

The Columbus Dispatch runs this article, "Senate Debate turns nasty," that tries to explain a "racially tinged" confrontation between Senator Ray Miller ("a black Columbus Democrat") and Senator Jeff Jacobson ("a white Republican from suburban Dayton"). Because it is not a long story you should read it yourself just to note how confusing it is. This may be a good exmaple of how not to write a news story. The article makes everything clear but the most important things: What was the cause of the confrontation and why was it racially tinged? The cause, somehow, had to do with "Lincoln’s actual view on slavery." Yet, this is not elaborated upon at all, save to say that the confrontation had to do (somehow) with a bill to declare September 22 Emancipation Day in Ohio (no further explanation is given) passed 33-0. The claim that the debate was "racially tinged" seems to have something to do with the fact that the President of the Senate (Sen. Bill Harris) put an end to the disorder (he called for a 10 minute recess). While Miller doesn’t claim that Harris is a racist, he says this: "What we have to be care of at all times is not to engage in some action that is racist, whether it is intended in a malicious manner or not." Another Democrat, C.J. Prentiss, however said this: "We absolutely perceived racist behavior. We’re not calling Bill Harris a racist, but it was racist behavior." I get it now. Thanks for the clarification. Why was it "racist behavior"? Perhaps this paragraph explains it:

"Democratic senators said they objected to Jacobson’s questioning Miller’s view on black history, including Lincoln’s stance on slavery. And they objected to Harris gaveling Miller out of order but allowing Jacobson to continue, even violating Senate rules by moving from behind his desk to continue the debate."

Well, maybe it doesn’t explain it, after all. I sure would like to know Miller’s opinion on "Lincoln’s stance on slavery" and what Jacobson’s objection to it was. Now, that would be interesting! Just for the record, Lincoln was always against slavery.

Update: A video of the exchange can be found here. The video does, however, end before the state troopers are called in.

Discussions - 6 Comments

I also was monumentally confused after reading this article in the Dispatch this morning. Unfortunately, I had just sent a email complaining to the publisher regarding reporter Felix Hoover’s recent article on Salah Sultan and his relationship to the Sunrise Academy. It’s amazing what a reporter can state in an article when you cherry pick the facts.

Guess I need to fire up the keyboard again.

The article was dreadfully disappointing and managed to say everything but what was important. I find that to be the case all to often with the Dispatch. Perhaps too many of their authors went to public schools.

The Columbus Disgust is so left of center that it gleefully rails against the logging industry while using thousands of trees every week to print it’s claptrap. And, yes, all the paper’s executives, like Ben Marrison, live in big fancy homes, full of dead trees sacrificed upon the alter of pretentious NIMBYism. :)

The article does lack a clear picture of what happened. You should be able to watch the debate at (you have to link through to the Legislature and the I think "live broadcasts" (or something similar) Go to yesterday’s date, third session around 7:00. I tried earlier, but my slow dial up wasn’t loading it.

Before making the statement that "Lincoln was always against slavery," he needs to do a little research. Lincoln proposed an amendment to the Constitution in March of 1861 that to paraphrase said, No action against lavery could be taken in any state where it was already legal. That would have allowed slavery to continue in south because it would have taken another amendment to cancel it out and three fourths is hard to come by. All the south had to do was ratify this Amendment when ending secession. The south also would have to agree to a 40% tariff. Less than one month later the Confederacy fired on Ft. Sumter beginning the Civil War.

Lincoln was against slavery, that assertion is correct.

However, he, like many, many others, was against the outright abolition of slavery, at least initially.

Lincoln was for containment of slavery with the hope, or with inducement, that it would die of its own accord.

You could argue that the civil war began with the secession of the southern states.

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