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The Evolution of Slave Law in Antebellum North Carolina With Special Consideration to Judge William Gaston

It seems that the common understanding of slave law and the feelings behind it was uniform among all North Carolinians in the antebellum time frame. Moreover, this sentiment behind the law seems to be portrayed as constant and unchanging. That is simply not the case. As this exhibit will show, laws regarding the rights and justice for slaves saw a change well before the end of the Civil War and the passage of Civil Rights laws. The decisions and dissentions made by William Gaston show a clear evolution in the approach to slave law in North Carolina. This approach also had implications for the rest of the country, as the cases presented in the paper will show. Primary evidence will be drawn from Gaston’s cases. 


Siler, Joe