Election 2016

This Whole Thing Is About the Right to Be Heard

esquire.comRight now, if you search the depths of the Intertoobz, you can find a record of a document that on auction at Christie’s in 2002 was valued by appraisers at a mere $336,000 American. It was a slim volume of 13 pages, bound in 1840, with marbled paper boards, a black morocco spine, and with a red morocco cover containing gilt lettering. The gilt lettering read, “J.Q. Adams.”

The document covered the period from May 25 to June 15, 1836, and it was Adams’ own account of the debate over the admission of the state of Arkansas into the Union, but it was a debate over much more than that. Earlier that May, the House of Representatives had passed its infamous “gag rule,” by which any mention of slavery was banned, and any petition arriving in that body concerning slavery would automatically be tabled without being debated, read, or even entered in the official record of the proceedings. This became the last great cause of John Quincy Adams’ life.

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