This week the New Jersey legislature will consider a measure expressing regret for its involvement in slavery. I am skeptical of these resolutions, in large part, because it is not clear that the actions taken lead to anything substantial beyond the public statement. It may simply be an easy way for our state legislatures to complete their terms with a sense that they have accomplished something meaningful in the name of race relations. Still, if the debate in New Jersey only serves as a reminder that slavery was a national problem before it became "peculiar" to the South following the Revolution than perhaps it has some value.
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