At Nullify Now! Cincinnati on 03-05-11, Michael Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center told a compelling story, nearly lost in the fog of history.
In March 1852, a posse led by a federal marshal and a former “master” apprehended a runaway slave in Wisconsin. They drug him from his home and locked him in a jail in nearby Milwaukee, prepared to send him back south into bondage.
The next day, more than 3,000 Wisconsin citizens broke this former slave out of jail . Over the next several weeks, the Underground Railroad facilitated his ultimate escape to freedom in Canada.
A Milwaukee newspaper editor named Sherman Booth played an important role in motivating the people to free this runaway slave. The incident set off a seven year legal saga, with the federal government vigorously prosecuting Booth for violating the Fugitive Slave laws, and the state of Wisconsin adamantly defending him.
Wisconsin refused to cooperate with federal authorities, overruling federal courts, releasing Booth, refusing to pass trial information to the Supreme Court.
On March 19, 1859, the Wisconsin legislature passed a joint resolution.
Resolved, that this assumption of jurisdiction by the federal judiciary, in the said case, and without process, is an act of undelegated power, and therefore without authority, void and of no force.
Nullification in action.
This is the story of Joshua Glover, a man simply seeking freedom, and the citizens of Wisconsin, who helped make that dream reality.
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”