William Slade / The Gag Rule
1786–1857 / 1836–1844
A graduate of Middlebury College admitted to the bar in 1810, Slade was a formidable activist opposed to the war with Mexico. He compiled the first Vermont State Papers and Laws of Vermont to 1824. The centerpiece of his career came when he was elected to Congress on the Anti-Masonic ticket in 1831, and was reelected as a Whig.
A strong proponent of public education, Slade advanced a program of education reform during his term as Vermont’s 17th governor. He was corresponding secretary of the Board of National Popular Education, which he co-founded with Catherine Beecher.
The Gag Rule. 1836-1844 In the 1830s, Americans were becoming outspoken about slavery, inundating Congress with abolitionist petitions. Southern legislators believed slavery was protected by the U.S. Constitution and changes to the practice threatened their livelihood. Conflict ensued, pitting northern abolitionists against many members of Congress.
Vermont’s William Slade was at the center of this fight, working with John Quincy Adams, to bring the debate to the House of Representatives. A resolution passed in 1836 instituted a “gag rule,” the first instance of a practice forbidding the House from considering anti-slavery petitions. Repealed in 1844, the gag rule involved acrimonious sectional conflict and anticipated the Civil War in its violent energy.
Erected 2017 by Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • Education • Government & Politics. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #06 John Quincy Adams series list.
Location. 43° 57.707′ N, 73° 12.566′ W. Marker is in Cornwall, Vermont, in Addison County. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2598 VT Route 30, Middlebury VT 05753, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cornwall Remembers (within shouting distance of this marker); Birthplace of Ray Fisher (approx. 3.9 miles away); Town & Gown (approx. 4 miles away); John Deere (approx. 4.1 miles away); Marble Works Memorial BridgeThe Battell Block (approx. 4.1 miles away); Middlebury Civil War Memorial (approx. 4.2 miles away); Ancient Paths (approx. 4.2 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on July 18, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 18, 2018, by Dennis Gilkenson of Saxtons River, Vermont. This page has been viewed 225 times since then and 83 times this year. Last updated on June 27, 2019, by Dennis Gilkenson of Saxtons River, Vermont. Photos: 1. submitted on June 18, 2018, by Dennis Gilkenson of Saxtons River, Vermont. 2. submitted on June 27, 2019, by Dennis Gilkenson of Saxtons River, Vermont. 3. submitted on June 18, 2018, by Dennis Gilkenson of Saxtons River, Vermont. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.