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It seems that the common understanding of slave law and the feelings behind it was uniform in all Southern states 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. The cases that will be analyzed here will show that slave law saw a change well before the end of the Civil War and passage of Civil Rights laws. The decisions and dissentions made by William Gaston show a clear evolution in the approach to slave law in the North Carolina Supreme Court. This approach also had implications for the rest of the country, as the cases presented in the paper will show. The evidence gained from Thomas Ruffin’s decisions as well as the decisions and dissentions made by William Gaston will show a softening of attitudes towards slaves