Burning a copy of the Constitution

Several hundred people gathered for the annual picnic of the Mass. Anti-Slavery Society, on July 4th, 1854. Speakers included Lucy Stone, Wendell Phillips, Sojourner Truth, Henry D. Thoreau, and Garrison. Garrison held up a copy of the Fugitive Slave Law, struck a match to it, and burned the hated statute. Then he held up a copy of the Constitution; pronouncing it “the source and parent of the other atrocities”, he struck another match, and set it on fire. “So perish all compromises with tyranny”, he intoned, calling for crowd response: “Let all the people say, ‘Amen’.”

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