Thursday, July 31, 2008

Duel over Slavery

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Another in my theme of historical markers.

David Broderick was a US Senator from California. David Terry was the former Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court.

In September 1859, Terry, who was pro-slavery and blamed Broderick and his anti-slavery faction for his re-election defeat, got into a war of words with Broderick. Eventually, this became so heated that a Terry challenged Broderick to a duel.

At the duel, Broderick's gun went off prematurely, so Terry got off what was basically an unchallenged shot. Broderick died 4 days later, and was made into a martyr for the anti-slavery movement. This act is considered by many to be the defining moment that kept Slavery out of California, which was one of the factors hastening us to the Civil War.

The site of the duel is marked with this plaque and a couple of granite markers where each man stood.

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