A Rescue In Milwaukee And What Followed
January 3, 2010 5:19 PM Subscribe
posted by The Confessor (15 comments total)
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On March 12, 1854 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a fugitive slave
named Joshua Glover, apprehended by a federal marshal and held in the city jail pursuant to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
, was freed
by a mob roused by noted local abolitionist and newspaper editor by day Sherman Booth
. The freed fugitive was quickly spirited to Canada and freedom, but Booth's road to absolution had several more twists and turns.
Upon his arrest and following his conviction and sentence, he became the subject of a protracted tug-of-war
between the Supreme Court (and eventually the Legislature) of Wisconsin and the Supreme Court of the United States which echoed the South Carolina Nullification Crisis
that helped precipitate the Civil War. In an ironic twist, the federal law the Wisconsin institutions sought to nullify was the Fugitive Slave Act.
When all avenues for appeal seemed exhausted, Booth was himself sprung from custody
, and briefly became a fugitive before being recaptured.
Booth was only exonerated seven years after his act, in March of 1861, when outgoing President James Buchanan granted a pardon
(PDF) as he prepared to hand the reins to Lincoln. By then there was little to be lost by doing so; seven of the eleven states that would form the Confederate States of America had already seceded.