Slavery must've been such a confusing institution, filling people with all kinds of cognitive dissonance. I should probably follow that up with a hearty "Duh". In reading the manuscript for the Notable Missourian story about Jeffrey Deroine, I was surprised to read how Jeffrey tried to use the court system to gain his freedom from his owner, Joseph Robidoux. I didn't know that was possible.
At the time Jeffrey was still a minor, so a family friend posing as his grandmother went with him to the courthouse to file the paperwork. The grounds for the case was the excessive cruelty of his master. Apparently there had been cases where a slave could be freed if the court deemed the master was too cruel. That automatically makes me wonder what would constitute just the right amount of cruelty when it comes to owning another human being? Ugh, so strange. Anyways it's no shocker that Jeffrey's case was dismissed - In large part thanks to Joseph Robidoux's standing in the community and strong connections. Jeffrey remained the slave of Robidoux until his freedom was purchased by his friends in the Ioway nation.
This illustration is for the book on Jeffrey Deroine, published by Truman State University Press.