Thomas Ruffin's Changing View of Slavery
In 1830, North Carolina Supreme Court Judge Thomas Ruffin made a ruling in the case of State v. Mann that rang loud thoughout The South. His ruling that "the power of the master must be absolute in order to render the submission of the slave perfect" set the precedent that slaveholders could have unlimited reign to do whatever they wanted to slaves when giving out punishment. How did he come to this decision and what were his views of slaves during his life? This exhibit will show how Ruffin's feelings of slaves changed from a sympathetic mood in his younger years to a feeling that slavery was a good for society.