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Using a combination of Judge Ruffin’s private correspondence found in The Papers of Thomas Ruffin, numerous North Carolina Supreme Court rulings during Ruffin’s tenure as Chief Justice, and modern legal scholar interpretations of Ruffin’s legal rulings on slavery, I have argued argue that while Ruffin’s opinion shaped both antebellum North Carolina slave law as well as other Southern judicial decisions regarding the status of slaves, further examination upon Ruffin’s public and private correspondence illuminate not only a man with committed religious, moral, and paternal justifications for slavery but also a equal commitment to protecting and perpetuating North Carolina’s antebellum legal codes and institutions. Ruffin’s ruling in Mann at the time was considered one of the most controversial yet forthright defense of the institution of slavery. Yet the decision in Mann read in its entirety reveals a Southern planter, Christian, and judge greatly troubled by the decisions he believe was absolutely necessary for the betterment of state agriculture policies, the safety of slave and non-slaveholding whites, and the protection and Christianization of black slaves. Ruffin’s conservative politics and strict adherence to federal and North Carolina state constitutions overshadowed his strict policies regarding the liberties of slaves. Yet in numerous court decisions post-Mann, Ruffin created certain distinctions to qualify slaves as intelligent, moral human beings and allow certain liberties not found in other antebellum, slave holding states. In remember the legacy of Thomas Ruffin, noted legal scholar at Harvard University, Roscoe Pound, cited Ruffin as one of the ten greatest judges in American history. (Huebner 1999, 130)