Exhibit Theme

The Gag Rule

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Memorial against slavery in the...
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Memorial against slavery in the District of Columbia from females of Philadelphia, December 25, 1831

Antislavery petitions that flooded Congress in the 1830s included many of huge size. This one, signed by 2,211 women of Philadelphia including reformer Lucretia Mott, advocated the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. Petitions were so large Congress began referring to them by weight rather than by source or title.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration