The “Battle of Christiana” September 11, 1851


For most contemporaries today, September 11th 2001 will always be one of those PTSD days America has suffered. But, I would argue that well before America began to mature as a nation that it marked the beginning of the American Civil War and did not start with the first shot at Fort Sumter. 

It all started with a tyrannical law in 1850. This would be known as the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850 that gave blacks no legal power to prove their freedom. This law did not really indicate that the slave owners or catchers from the South had to be able to prove that their slave/property had ran away. With this law in tact, slave catchers could just pick anyone and act as if anyone they claimed was their slave. For instance, if a slave fit only a partial of the specified description then a slave could be deported back to the South with his/her family and be re-enslaved for the rest of their lives. This happened quite frequently, since the slave industry was worth $30 billion in America today.

Due to the abolitionist outrage of the law, Northerners were ready to take up arms. The location of the first bloodshed came in Christiana, Pennsylvania; which was on the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland halfway between Philadelphia and Gettysburg. On September 11, 1851. A slave owner with his posse from Maryland tried to reclaim his slaves in Pennsylvania. The slaveowner said that he would rather have his slaves or go to hell. Turns out his fate took the latter. He was advised by Quakers to turn around, but he refused and was shot dead with his son severely wounded. 

It seems like events that happen on September 11th are more than common to set up Americans for wars that last more than a few years. With this event in American History there seems to have been a point proven that the war was on slavery and not just State’s Rights. I would argue….Civil Rights, which would take hold 100 years later in the Jim Crow South that haunted America since Reconstruction began.

  

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