The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 59
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Beginnings of Secession Movement in Texas
be an usurpation of power and a violation of the compact of the
Union. Sister states of like sentiment were invited to join Texas."7
The resolution was tabled; nevertheless, it expressed the feeling of
many of the Democratic leaders who were shaping public opinion
in Texas. This process of moulding public opinion to the main-
tenance of state rights in regard to slavery at any cost had been
going on for some years. Many of the influential newspapers were
controlled by the radical element in the state, and they exerted
themselves to the utmost in shaping public opinion.
5. The Question of Re-Opening the African Slave Trade
The policy of reopening the African slave trade was at this time
gradually coming to be advocated as a necessary economic measure.
The supply of slave labor did not equal the demand; hence slaves
were very expensive and the agricultural pursuits of the South
suffered in consequence. The pro-slavery leaders were uneasy lest
the border states of Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky should
become free soil by the gradual exodus of slaves to the cotton
regions further south. This movement would continue as long as
the high price of negroes was protected against a foreign supply,
and it would mean the certain transfer, eventually, of these states
to the ranks of the freesoilers. Moreover, slavery, it was argued,
was a benign institution, just as good for the negro as for the white
man. On the platform and in the press the institution was de-
-fended on economic, religious, social and moral principles, until
gradually the people came to look upon it in that light; and when
they believed it threatened by the North they were ready to resort
to arms in its defense.
As early as 18'56, the State Gazette began to note closely all
discussions relating to the reopening of the slave trade that took
place in the other Southern states. It not only quoted liberally
from the press of these states, but gave its own opinions freely.
For instance, in an editorial of March 1, 1856, the editor of the
Gazette commenting on a discussion in the Georgia legislature on
the question of repealing all laws obstructing the importation and
sale of salves in Georgia, said that discussion was a very good move,
because all laws interfering with the freedom of trade were wrong,
"Lubbock, Six Decades in Texas, 233.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/65/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.