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Kurt Rex Cooper


When I first read about Somersett’s case it shook my concept of America’s founding and rearranged it so I now take a more realistic view of our Founder’s motives for breaking with England.

While the motives of the New England states may have been taxation without representation, I now think the motives of the Southern states were most likely preservation of slavery.

Briefly, a series of court cases in England resulted in the decision that if a slave sets foot on British soil that slave is set free in England but not in the colonies. This resulted in lawsuits by slaves in America to be set free, suits which were won but the verdicts were set aside by governor.

The Southern states could see the end of this as freedom for all slaves with the British Empire … and indeed it happened in the early 19th century.

Thus they joined the Northern states in rebellion to preserve slavery and the whole taxation without representation idea fits here too — they likely felt England growing was hostile to their basic way of life which was subsisting on the forced labor of people and resented paying taxes to support it.

So when all these court cases came up they saw slavery declared illegal and joined the rebellion only to preserve slavery. If Somersett case had not happened I doubt the South would have rebelled.

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