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James Ramsay (Napoleon's World)

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James Richard Ramsay (14 May 1831 - 3 February 1876), known also as J.R. Ramsay, was an American writer, political activist, minister and fervent abolitionist who became one of the most public figures in the anti-slavery debate during the 1860's and early 1870's. Initially opposed to slavery on moral and religious grounds, Ramsay's skill as a speaker soon led to the evolution of his political career, marked by his three failed runs for Congress on the Liberty Party ticket.

While entertaining the sympathies of many northern Nationalists, including men such as General Abraham Lincoln and President Horatio Seymour, Ramsay was considered to be out of the mainstream, especially due to his colorful encouragement of slaves to rebel, his 1870 book Hang the Slavemaster which supported the wholesale murder of slave owners, and his belief that northern, non-slave states should secede from the Union. He was one of the principal speakers at the Yorktown Convention, where he famously declared, "Let them have their slaves, and let us have none of them!"

For advocating secession, he was arrested and tried in 1875 under dubious charges of treason, and was convicted in what later historians have categorized as an unfair "show trial." On February 3, 1876, he was hanged in Washington, D.C. This is generally known as the Ramsay Affair.

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