ABSTRACT

In his monumental speech protesting the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, Rev. Jermain W. Loguen urges his fellow townsmen of Syracuse, NY, an “open city” to fugitives, to defy the new federal legislation by protecting the city's fugitives from federal marshals en route to apprehend them. My analysis of Loguen's speech examines his use of American and African American jeremiadic strategies to convince his audience of primarily white Christian abolitionists that their unified resistance against the new law was part of God's providential plan to redeem the nation of the sin of slavery. My study also reveals how Loguen's appeals to manhood, through associating divine punishment with the emasculation of American men, as well as his establishment of “identification” around shared religious and political values, proved effective in rallying Syracuse's citizens to defend their God-given freedom.

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