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Today In Charleston History: August 19


1776 – American Revolution – Continental Congress.  

Edward Rutledge wrote that the states would not approve the Articles of Confederation “as they stand now.” The southern delegations opposed the provision that each state should contribute financially in proportion to their population, including slaves.

edward rutledge 2In an argument which was to continue for the next ninety years, Southern delegates argued that slaves were wealth-producing property, not people. Thomas Lynch, Jr. of South Carolina said that if the North wanted to debate whether slaves were property “there is an End of the Confederation.”

Edward Rutledge argued it was “unfair to base taxes on one form of wealth-producing property and not others, such as land and livestock.” He also wrote:

I propose that the States should appoint a special Congress to be composed of new Members for this purpose – and that no Person should disclose any part of the present plan.

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