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Jim Crow NorthThe Struggle for Equality in Antebellum New England$
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Richard Archer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190676643

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190676643.001.0001

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Repealing the Law

Repealing the Law

Chapter:
(p.135) 9 Repealing the Law
Source:
Jim Crow North
Author(s):

Richard Archer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190676643.003.0009

The successful attempt to remove the prohibition against mixed marriages in Massachusetts (such a law continued to exist in Maine where it wasn't enforced and in Rhode Island until the 1880s) did not occur in isolation from the larger movement for equal rights. Advocating the end of the ban, however, was tricky for politicians and reformers in general (particularly women), because they would be charged with promoting “amalgamation,” but nonetheless year after year the demand to change the law grew. Petitions kept the issue alive in the legislature, The Liberator had called for repeal since its second issue, and eventually good sense prevailed in part because the cause was just but also because so many politicians believed it to be only a symbolic issue. In 1843 the Massachusetts legislature voted for repeal of the marriage restriction and against the desegregation of the railroads-an issue with immediate impact.

Keywords:   mixed marriage ban, petitions, women reformers, Massachusetts legislature, amalgamation, repeal of ban

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