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Cathy Rodabaugh

Insisting that the Constitution made no provisions for slavery, Giddings consistently demanded that the government disentangle itself from any involvement with the institution. He believed that the “slave power,” wielding undue influence in Washington, withheld important rights from both northerners and bondpeople.

Joshua Reed Giddings was born in Pennsylvania to parents gradually migrating westward from Connecticut. His father, a failed farmer, moved the family again to New York's Burned-Over District, a region aflame with religious excitement, then finally settled amid other transplanted New Englanders in an area known as the Western Reserve, in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Largely self-educated and a diligent student, Giddings began law studies under Elisha Whittlesey, passing the bar exam in 1821 He married a schoolteacher from the area Laura Waters who later became a charter member of one the region s earliest antislavery societies One of their five children Laura Maria became a Garrisonian abolitionist ...