Who's in the Burrow?

Slavery and States' Rights On Trial at SBA

Joanne Knox relayed the following comical story regarding the moments leading up to the SBA Summit on Slavery. 

Charged with playing the role of President Abraham Lincoln in a mock court session in which slavery  and states' rights were on trial, Chris Fitzpatrick was astounded when Owen Wattenmaker - assigned the role of Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and scrambling for costume attire - asked the President at lunch if he had an extra tie. 

Shaking his head incredulously, Chris responded: "John Wilkes Booth is asking President Lincoln to borrow his tie?!"

The North
Thank you to Joanne for the following details regarding the slavery summit.



It is early December in the year 1860. Abraham Lincoln is the President elect. Tensions between free and slave states have reached a boiling point. Violent protests and even armed skirmishes between local militias in border areas are becoming more frequent. A war between the states threatens to tear apart families and a nation. In an effort to avoid a bloody solution, a group of some of the most influential voices of the time have been assembled to present demands between the divided political factions of this country. The stakes could not be higher nor the issues more contentious. The entire nation is watching and listening to upcoming reports in the newspapers of what this assembled group decides.

Issues to consider:
  • States rights vs. Federal law
  • Slavery (economics, morality, etc.)
  •  Balance of legislative power in a growing nation (ex. Kansas entering the union next year)
  •  Legality of Secession

States’ rights, as outlined by our Founding Fathers, are being trampled by unfair Northern politics. Abolitionist fanatics in the North are forcing this country into war by illegally tampering with the institution of slavery in this country. The South has little choice but to secede and form a new nation grounded in liberty.


If the South can articulate and prove their demands are justified, the judges will then find in favor of “The Compromise of 1861” which will force concessions by the North but the bloodiest war on American soil will never take place.  On the other hand, if the North is convincing in their presentation of their demands and the judges side with their line of reasoning, the country will enter into Civil War. 

Verdict: Southern arguments were persuasive to the judges and thus they won - this means the Civil War has been avoided and a compromise favoring the South that prevents succession has been established.


Northerners and/or Abolitionists:

Frederick Douglass = Isaac                 

Harriet Beecher Stowe = Maya

Henry David Thoreau = Drew

Abraham Lincoln = Chris

Harriet Tubman = Laurel

Harriet Jacobs = Sinclaire

Charles Sumner = Chuck                                                             

John Brown = Jack

Southerners and/or Pro-Slavery Individuals:

John C. Calhoun = Conner

Robert E. Lee = Augie

Varina Davis = Taylor                                                                

Preston Brooks = Riley

Meredith Calhoun = Brian                 

Belle Boyd = Katrin

Martha Bulloch Roosevelt = Lizzie                                              

John Wilkes Booth = Owen

Judges: Cass, Grace, Dylan, Kristen, Tracy with help from special advisor Ambrose.

The Judges
"We couldn't be happier with the students' ability to synthesize and argue using content discussed in class over the last six weeks. Student engagement was at an all-time high, with both the North and South delegations rising to the challenge." - Joanne Knox

Drew Hartley, aka Henry David Thoreau