Friday, June 28, 2013
William Gaston, Catholic judge and politician
William Gaston of North Carolina. Gaston was one of the premier Catholic politicians in the American South up until the 1840s, and during his career was a passionate advocate for religious liberty for non-Protestants and for the rights of African-Americans, both freedmen and slaves, as human persons. While Gaston did not go as far as becoming an abolitionist, as a judge he ruled that slaves had rights against abuse from those who claimed to own them, and argued that free blacks should be considered to be citizens of the State. An interesting read: William Gaston, Race, and Religion in North Carolina.