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[Thomas Jefferson]. 1807 Acts of Congress, Including Law Abolishing Slave Trade, the Insurrection Act, and Lewis & Clark Content. First Edition.
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it shall not be lawful to import or bring into the United States...any negro, mulatto, or person of color, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such negro, mulatto, or person of color, as a slave.

[CONGRESS]. Acts Passed at the Second Session of the Ninth Congress of the United States (Washington, D.C.: n.p., 1807). 134 pp. (219-352), 6 x 9 in. Includes table of contents (iv pp.) for this session, and index (29 pp.) and title page for entire volume at end.

Inventory #23963       Price: $4,500

The Ninth United States Congress met from March 4, 1805, to March 4, 1807, during the fifth and sixth years of Jefferson’s presidency. Both chambers had a Democratic-Republican majority. The Second Session, which this volume covers, ran from December 1, 1806 to March 4, 1807.

This volume contains an act authorizing the president to use the armed forces to suppress “all cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws” of the United States or any state. The power, invoked dozens of times by both Democratic and Republican presidents since its passage, was first used in April 1808, by President Thomas Jefferson to address violations of the controversial Embargo Act on Lake Champlain.

An Act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eight.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, it shall not be lawful to import or bring into the United States or the territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of color, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such negro, mulatto, or person of color, as a slave, or to be held to service or labor.” (p262)

An Act making compensation to Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, and their companions.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the secretary of war be, and he is hereby directed to issue land warrants to Meriwether Lewis and William Clarke, for one thousand six hundred acres each; to John Ordway [and 30 others], for three hundred twenty acres each: which several warrants may, at the option of the holder or possessor, be located with any register or registers of the land offices, subsequent to the public sales in such office, on any of the public lands of the United States, lying on the west side of the Mississippi, then and there offered for sale, or may be received at the rate of two dollars per acre, in payment of any such public lands.” (p294-95)

An act authorizing the employment of the land and naval forces of the United States, in cases of insurrections.

Sect. 1. Be it enacted by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America in congress assembled, That, in all cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws, either of the United States, or of any individual state or territory, where it is lawful for the president of the United States to call forth the militia for the purpose of suppressing such insurrection, or of causing the laws to be duly executed, it shall be lawful for him to employ, for the same purposes, such part of the land or naval force of the United States as shall be judged necessary, having first observed all the prerequisites of the law in that respect.”[Approved, March 3, 1807.]  (p311)

Historical Background – Slave Trade
Slavery was one of the most contentious issues of the Constitutional Convention. Although the final document does not mention slavery by name, the institution shaped many aspects of the new federal government. When delegates reached the “Great Compromise” of a bicameral federal legislature—consisting of one house with the same number of representatives for each state and the other with a different number of representatives based on population—southern states wanted to count their slaves as part of the population, while northern states disagreed. The result was a compromise in which states could count three-fifths of their slaves for purposes of representation.

A special committee worked out another compromise: Congress would have the power to ban the slave trade, but not until 1800; the Convention extended the date to 1808. Even this provision did not use the word “slavery.” Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states that: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight.”

Many delegates believed that the slave trade would die out, as new immigrants replaced enslaved laborers and rendered the institution unprofitable. However, Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793, rejuvenated plantation slavery based on the cultivation of cotton.

Nevertheless, looking ahead in his December 1806 annual message to Congress (State of the Union Address), President Thomas Jefferson recommended the abolition of the slave trade. Congress agreed, passing this law, which Jefferson signed on March 2, 1807, prohibiting the importation of slaves as of January 1, 1808, the earliest date permitted by the Constitution. Even after the passage of the law, an estimated 50,000 slaves were imported, largely through Spanish Florida and Texas, before they became American territories and then states. The illegal but profitable slave trade by smugglers also continued.

Historical Background – Lewis & Clark
Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the volunteers of the Corps of Discovery left St. Louis in mid-May 1804 to travel up the Missouri River to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase.  After reaching the Pacific Ocean in November 1805, the Corps returned to St. Louis in September 1806. In the process of their journey, the Corps asserted sovereignty over the newly acquired Louisiana Territory for the United States and learned much about the geography, topography, and natural resources of the vast area through which they traveled. They also established diplomatic relations and trade with two dozen Native American nations. When they returned, they became national heroes, and President Jefferson declared that “Messrs. Lewis and Clarke and their brave companions have by this arduous service deserved well of their country.”Congress rewarded them with land grants and double pay through this legislation.

Historical Background – Insurrection Act
Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution lists the powers and responsibilities of Congress, including:

“To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

“To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”

In 1792, while combatting the Whiskey Rebellion (1791-94), Congress passed the Calling Forth Act, which allowed the President to federalize state militias to suppress rebellions.

The proposed Insurrection Act text was introduced in December 1806 as a section of “a Bill Providing for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States.” It was added in the context of the Burr Conspiracy, in which a group of planters, politicians, and army officers, led by former Vice President Aaron Burr, attempted to create an independent country drawing territory from both the United States and Mexico. In 1806, Burr recruited volunteers for a military expedition down the Mississippi River. General James Wilkinson, who at first supported Burr, revealed Burr’s plan to the President. Reluctantly convinced that Burr was planning to attack Spanish territory, Jefferson ordered his former vice president’s arrest and worked behind the scenes to see that he was convicted. Burr surrendered to authorities near Natchez, but later escaped. He was recaptured on February 19, 1807, in Alabama, and taken to Virginia to stand trial for treason.

Chief Justice John Marshall, who distrusted and detested Jefferson (and the feeling was mutual), presided at the trial in August 1807. Witness testimony was inconsistent, and the star prosecution witness admitted that he had altered a letter implicating Burr. Chief Justice Marshall instructed the jury that intent without action was insufficient to convict a person of treason. The federal jury found Burr not guilty on September 1, and Burr left for a self-imposed exile in Europe until 1811.

Despite the failure to convict Burr, Jefferson first used the Act in April 1808 to address violations of the controversial Embargo Act on Lake Champlain. Jefferson declared the Lake Champlain region to be in a state of insurrection because residents there were trading freely with British citizens in the province of Lower Canada in violation of the Embargo of 1807.

The Insurrection Act has been invoked dozens of times since, by both Democratic and Republican presidents. In 1861, a new section allowed the federal government to use the National Guard, Army, and Navy against the will of rebellious state governments. In 1871, the Third Enforcement Act revised the revision to protect African Americans from attacks by the Ku Klux Klan. In the twentieth century, Presidents invoked it during labor conflicts and to enforce desegregation orders. In the late 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson used the act in the wake of riots in American cities. On June 1, 2020, President Donald Trump threatened to invoke the act in response to protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Additional Content
This session also passed laws making appropriations for the army, navy, and general government for 1807 (220-24, 280-90); authorizing the president to receive into military service up to 30,000 men (246-49); making provisions to fortify American ports and harbors (309-10); preventing settlement on lands ceded to the United States until authorized (317-22); and presidential proclamations of separate treaties or conventions between the United States and the Piankeshaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee (338-52).

Condition: original paper covers with edge tears; spine mostly absent but volume is well-sewn; some staining and foxing but fine overall. Many pages uncut at top. Manuscript inscriptions on cover, “Monmouth Harbor / United States Laws 1806 / Monmouth.”

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