The case that happened to the slave Celia has an extremely ambiguous and contradictory degree of assessment. Regarding the legal aspects and points concerning this issue, Celia committed a terrible crime, which, in fairness, should be followed by appropriate punishment. However, if one looks at the circumstances as a whole, the girl was only a victim of the circumstances for the following reasons. She was sexually abused from the age of 14 and was brought to a “boiling point.” In this case, the murder committed by Celia has a motive and has justification since it was also committed for protection and security.
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Moreover, Celia had an attorney, John Jameson, who tried to defend her and cited the following arguments to demonstrate that his client was not guilty of murder. Jameson focused on Celia’s sexual exploitation and the actions as a defense; the man believed that the girl, in this situation, has the law to use the force that implies a fatal outcome (McLaurin, 1999). Nevertheless, the argument was controversial and did not meet the approved standards at the Missouri state level.
Moreover, this case can be considered in the broader context. Once, the US split into two parts, and each of them shared different opinions about “minorities” (Foner, 2017). In the 50s of the 19th century, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, abolishing the Missouri Compromise, and settlers in particular territories independently decided whether to allow slavery or not. By mid-1855, a controversy had begun in Missouri in favor of slavery.
Many protesters claimed that Kansas should enter the Union as a slave state. Therefore, it can be assumed that Celia was at a “disadvantage” due to increased tension on Kansas Territory and the laws at the Missouri state level. Further, the jury consisted of 12 white men, and almost everyone was a slave owner. Consequently, it is not surprising that Celia was found guilty of murder.
In my opinion, Celia acted alone and hid the traces of the crime on her own. According to the book, Robert often visited the girl in the evenings when she was alone (McLaurin, 1999). In addition, George himself claimed that the last time he saw Robert walking along the path leading to Celia’s hut. Unfortunately, we will never know the whole truth because it is a secret that Celia took to her grave. Nevertheless, she did what she had to do in this situation.
Foner, E. (2017). Give me liberty!: An American history (5th ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.
McLaurin, M. A. (1999). Celia, a slave (1st ed.). Avon.
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