Posted August 4, 2003


The Conspiracy by the Slave Power to Disrupt the Union

by John McElroy

Introduced and excerpted by G. E. Rule, from The Struggle for Missouri, 1909

This is copyrighted material--the articles, the pictures, and the introductions--and may not be copied or reproduced in any form, including on other websites, without permission of the author(s).

John McElroy joined an Illinois cavalry regiment at the age of 16. He was captured after six month’s service and spent much of the rest of the war in Andersonville prison. After the war, he wrote one of the primary works on the infamous Confederate prison. McElroy was also the long-time editor of the National Tribune, official journal of the Grand Army of the Republic (the fraternal organization of Union veterans of the Civil War). Eventually McElroy was elected national commander of the G.A.R. as well. His book is dedicated “To the Union Men of Missouri”. So don’t be looking for balance from McElroy, though he is an entertaining writer who specializes in the snide remark and the cutting observation.

We are preparing a Missouri Civil War Syllabus to be posted on the site, and while putting it together it occurred to me that I wanted to recommend the introduction to McElroy’s book on the war in Missouri because it is a representative, though especially venomous, example of many hard-core Unionist’s views on the causes of the Civil War, and this particular example is Missouri-centric. I wanted to give an up-close look at fire-breathing Unionist/Abolitionist thought “from the horse’s mouth”, as it were. Though one suspects it was not the mouth of the horse that Missouri ex-Confederates were reminded of while reading McElroy.

We will, of course, cheerfully sell anyone who is interested a copy of our Missouri Civil War Reader CD with all of The Struggle for Missouri on it, but as it was only the introduction I wanted to recommend for the syllabus, we decided to make it available on the site for free. The title was my addition; McElroy calls this chapter, “A Salient Bastion for the Slavery Empire”.

Whatever else may be said of Southern statesmen, of the elder school, they certainly had an imperial breadth of view. They took in the whole continent in a way that their Northern colleagues were slow in doing.

It cannot be said just when they began to plan for a separate Government which would have Slavery as its cornerstone, would dominate the Continent and ultimately absorb Cuba, Mexico and Central America as far as the Isthmus of Panama.

Undoubtedly it was in the minds of a large number of them from the organization of the Government, which they regarded as merely a temporary expedient —an alliance with the Northern States until the South was strong enough to “assume among the Powers of the Earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”

They achieved a great strategic victory when in 1818 they drew the boundaries of the State of Missouri.

The Ordinance of 1787 dedicated to Freedom all of the immense territory which became the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The wonderful growth of these in population, wealth and political influence alarmed the Slave Power —keenly sensitive, as bad causes always are, to anything which may possibly threaten— and it proceeded to erect in the State of Missouri a strong barrier to the forward march of the Free Soil idea.

When the time for the separation came, the Northern fragment of the Republic would find itself almost cut in two by the northward projection of Virginia to within 100 miles of Lake Erie. It would be again nearly cut in two by the projection of the northeast corner of Missouri to within 200 miles of Lake Michigan.

In those days substantially all travel and commerce was along the lines of the rivers. For the country between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi the Ohio River was the great artery. Into it empty the Allegheny, Monongahela, Muskingum, the Kanawhas, Big Sandy, Scioto, the Miamis, Licking, Kentucky, Green, Wabash, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, each draining great valleys, and bringing with its volume of waters a proportionate quota of travel and commerce. The Illinois River also entered the Mississippi from the East with the commerce of a great and fruitful region.

West of the Mississippi the mighty Missouri was the almost sole highway for thousands of miles.

The State was made unusually large —68,735 square miles, where the previous rule for States had been about 40,000 square miles— stretching it so as to cover the mouths of the Ohio and the Illinois, and to lie on both sides of the great Missouri for 240 miles. A glance at the map will show how complete this maneuver seemed to be. Iowa and Minnesota were then unbroken and unvisited stretches of prairie and forest, railroads were only dreamed of by mechanical visionaries, and no man in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky or Tennessee could send a load of produce to market without Missouri’s permission; he could make no considerable journey without traversing her highways, while all of the imperial area west of the Mississippi was made, it seemed, forever distinctly tributary to her.

New Orleans was then the sole mart of the West, for the Erie Canal had not been dug to convert the Great Lakes into a colossal commercial highway.

Out of a country possessing the unusual combination of surpassing agricultural fertility with the most extraordinary mineral wealth they carved a State larger in area than England and Wales and more than one fourth the size of France or Germany.

All ordinary calculations as to the development of such a favored region would make of it a barrier which would effectively stay the propulsive waves of Free Soilism.

So far as man’s schemes could go there would never be an acre of free soil west of Illinois.

The Anti Slavery men were keenly alive to this strategic advantage of their opponents. Though the opposition to Slavery might be said to be yet in the gristle, the men hostile to the institution were found in all parties, and were beginning to divide from its more ardent supporters.

Under the ban of public opinion Slavery was either dead or legally dying in all the older States north of Mason and Dixon’s line. In the kingly stretch of territory lying north of the Ohio and between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi there was no taint of the foot of a slave, and the settlers there wanted to “set the bounds of Freedom wider yet.”

The Anti Slavery men everywhere, and at that time there were very many in the Southern States, protested vigorously against the admission of Missouri into the Union as a Slave State, and the controversy soon became so violent as to convulse the Nation. In 1818, when the bill for the admission of Missouri was being considered by the House of Representatives, Gen. James Tallmadge, of New York, introduced the following amendment:

And provided, That the introduction of slavery, or involuntary servitude, be prohibited, except for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party has been duly convicted; and that all children born within the said State; after the admission thereof into the Union, shall be declared free at the age of 25 years.

This was adopted by practically all the votes from the Free States, with a few from the Border States, which constituted a majority in the House. But the Senate, in which the Slave States had a majority, rejected the amendment, and the struggle began which was only ended two years later by the adoption of the famous Missouri Compromise of 1820, which admitted Missouri as a Slave State, but prohibited for the future any “Slavery or involuntary servitude” outside the limits of that State north of 36 degrees 30 minutes.

As in all compromises, this was unsatisfactory to the earnest men on both sides of the dispute.

The Anti Slavery men, who claimed that Freedom was National and Slavery local, were incensed that such an enormous area as that south of 36 degrees 30 minutes had been taken from Freedom by the implication that it was reserved for Slavery.

The Pro Slavery men, on the other hand, who had shrewdly made Slavery extension appear one of the fundamental and cherished rights of the South, set up the clamorous protest, which never ceased till Appomattox, that the denial of the privilege of taking property in Slaves to any part of the National domain won by the arms or purchased by the money of the whole country, was a violation of the compact entered into at the formation of the Government, guaranteeing to the citizens of all the States the same rights and privileges.

They also complained that under this arrangement the Free Soilers gained control of 1,238,025 square miles of the Nation’s territory, while Slavery only had 609,023 square miles; or less than half so much. This complaint, which seemed so forceful to the Pro Slaveryites, appeared as rank impudence to their opponents, since it placed Slavery on the same plane with Freedom.

The great State, however, did not flourish in accordance with the expectations based upon its climate, natural resources and central position. The tide of immigration paused before her borders, or swept around under colder skies to Iowa and Minnesota, or to the remote prairies of Kansas and Nebraska. Careless as the average home seeker might seem as to moral and social questions so long at he found fertile land at cheap prices, yet he appeared reluctant to raise his humble cabin on soil that had the least taint of Slavery. In spite of her long frontage on the two greatest rivers of the continent, and which were its main highways; in spite of skies and soils and rippling streams unsurpassed on earth; in spite of having within her borders the great and growing city of St. Louis, the Metropolis of the Mississippi Valley, Missouri in 1860, after 40 years of Statehood, had only 1,182,012 people, against 1,711,951 in Illinois, 1,350,428 in Indiana, 674,913 in Iowa; 172,023 in Minnesota, 2,329,511 in Ohio, 749,113 in Michigan, 775,881 in Wisconsin, with nearly 150,000 in Kansas and Nebraska.

More than a million settlers who had crossed the Mississippi within a few years had shunned her contaminated borders for the free air of otherwise less attractive localities.

Nor had the Slaveholders gone into the country in the numbers that were expected. Less than 20,000 had settled there, which was a small showing against nearly 40,000 in Kentucky and 55,000 in Virginia. All these had conspicuously small holdings. Nearly one third of them owned but one slave, and considerably more than one half had less than five. Only one man had taken as many as 200 slaves into the State.

The Census of 1860 showed Missouri to rank eleventh among the Slave States, according to the following table of the number of slaves in each:

















South Carolina








North Carolina


New Jersey










There were 9,185 slaves in the District of Columbia and 29 in the Territory of Utah, with all the rest of the country absolutely free.

The immigrant Slave-owners promptly planted themselves where they could command the great highway of the Missouri River, taking up broad tracts of the fertile lands on both sides of the stream. The Census of 1860 showed that of the 114,965 slaves held in the State, 50,280 were in the 12 Counties along the Missouri:



















St. Charles






Two thirds of all the slaves in the State were held within 20 miles of the Missouri River.

As everywhere, the Slave-owners exerted an influence immeasurably disproportionate to their numbers, intelligence and wealth. A very large proportion of the immigration had not been of a character to give much promise as to the future.

The new State had been the Adullam’s Cave for the South, where “every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt and every one that was discontented gathered themselves.” Next to Slavery, the South had been cursed by the importation of paupers and criminals who had been transported from England for England’s good, in the early history of the Colonies, to work the new lands. The negro proving the better worker in servitude than this class, they had been driven off the plantations to squat on unoccupied lands, where they bred like the beasts of the field, getting a precarious living from hunting the forest, and the bolder eking out this by depredations upon their thriftier neighbors. Their forebears had been paupers and criminals when sent from England, and the descendants continued to be paupers and criminals in the new country, forming a clearly marked social class, so distinct as to warrant the surmise that they belonged to a different race. As the eastern part of the South and the administration of the laws improved, this element was to some extent forced out, and spread in a noisome trail over Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. While other immigrants went into the unbroken forest with a few rude tools and in the course of several years built up comfortable homes, theirs never rose above abject squalor. The crudest of cabins sufficed them for shelter, beds of beech leaves were all the couches they required; they had more guns in their huts than agricultural or mechanical implements; they scarcely pretended to raise anything more than a scanty patch of corn; and when they could not put on their tables the flesh of the almost wild razorback hog which roamed the woods, they made meat of woodchucks, raccoons, opossums or any other “varmint” their guns could bring down. They did not scorn hawks or owls if hunger demanded and no better meat could be found.

It was this “White Trash” which added so much to the horrors of the war, especially in Missouri, and so little to its real prosecution. Wolf like in ferocity, when the advantages were on their side, they were wolf like in cowardice when the terms were at all equal. They were the Croats, Cossacks, Tolpatches, Pandours of the Confederacy —of little value in battle, but terrible as guerrillas and bush whackers. From this “White Trash” came the gangs of murderers and robbers, like those led by the Youngers, Jameses, Quantrils and scores of other names of criminal memory.

As has been the case in all times and countries, these dregs of society became the willing tools of the Slaveholding aristocrats. With dog like fidelity they followed and served the class which despised and overrode them. Somehow, by inherited habits likely, they seemed to avoid the more fertile parts of the State. They thus became “Bald Knobbers” and “Ozarkers” in Missouri, as they had been “Clay Eaters” in South Carolina, or “Sang Diggers” in Virginia.

With these immigrants from the South came also large numbers of a far better element even than the arrogant Slave-owners or the abject “White Trash.”

The Middle Class in the South was made up of much the same stock as the bulk of the Northerners —that is of Scotch, Scotch Irish and North English— Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists and Dissenters generally who had been forced out of Great Britain by the intolerant Episcopalians when the latter gained complete power after the suppression of the Rebellion of 1745. With these were also the descendants of the sturdy German Protestants who had been driven from Europe during the religious wars when the Catholics gained the ascendancy in their particular country. These were the backbone of the South, and had largely settled along the foothills of the Alleghenies and in the fruitful valleys between the mountains, while the “White Trash” lived either on the barren parts of the lowlands or the bare and untillable highlands.

It is a grave mistake to confound these two classes of Non Slaveholding whites in the South. They were as absolutely unlike as two distinct races, and an illustration of the habits of the two in migrating will suffice to show this. It was the custom in the Middle Classes when a boy attained majority that he chose for his wife a girl of the same class who was just ripening into vigorous womanhood. Both boy and girl had been brought up to labor with their own hands and to work constantly toward a definite purpose. They had been given a little rudimentary education, could read their Bibles and almanacs, “cipher” a little, write their names and a letter which could be read. When quite a lad the boy’s father had given him a colt, which he took care of until it became a horse. To this, his first property, was added a suit of stout homespun cloth, which, with a rifle, an ax and some few other necessary tools, constituted his sole equipment for married life. The girl had been given a calf, which she had raised to a heifer; she had also a feather bed and some blankets of her own making and a little stock of the most obvious housekeeping utensils. With this simple outfit the young couple were married, and either went in debt for a little spot of land near home or pushed out into the new country. There they built a rude log cabin to shelter them from the storm, and by the time their children had reached the age they were when they married they had built up an unpretentious but very comfortable home, with their land well cleared and fenced, and stocked with cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry sufficient to maintain them in comfort. From this class came always the best and strongest men in the South. Comparatively few of them became Slave-owners, and then but rarely owned more than one or two negroes. A very large proportion found homes in the great free States north of the Ohio River.

On the other hand, none of this accession to comparative wealth seemed possible to the “White Trash.” The boys and girls mated, squatted on any ground they could find unoccupied, raised there the merest shelter, which never by any chance improved, no matter how long they lived there, and proceeded to breed with amazing prolificacy other like themselves, destined for the same lives of ignorance and squalor. The hut of the “Clay Eater” in South Carolina, the “Sand Hiller” in Georgia, the “Sang Digger” in Virginia was the same as that his grandfather had lived in. It was the same that his sons and grandsons to the third and fourth generations built on the bleak knobs of the Ozarks or the malarious banks of the Mississippi.

The Census of 1850 showed that about 70,000 of the population of Missouri had come from Kentucky, 45,000 from Tennessee, 41,000 from Virginia, 17,000 from North Carolina and 15,000 from the other Southern States. Nearly 40,000 had gone from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, but a very large proportion of this number was the same element which had streamed across the southern parts of those States on its way to Missouri. Only 13,000 had entered from the great States of New York and Pennsylvania, and but 1,100 from New England. Nearly 15,000 Irishmen, mostly employed along the rivers, had settled in the State.

While the Slaveowners and their “White Trash” myrmidons were Pro Slavery Democrats, the Middle Class were inclined to be Whigs, or if Democrats, belonging to that wing of the party less subservient to Slavery which in later years was led by Stephen A. Douglas.

Upon these three distinct strata in society, which little mingled but were all native Americans, was projected an element of startling differences in birth, thought, speech and manners. The so called Revolution of 1848 in Germany was a movement by the educated, enthusiastic, idealistic youth of the Fatherland to sweep away the horde of petty despots, and unite their pigmy Principalities and Duchies into a glorious and wide ruling Germany. They were a generation too soon, however, and when the movement was crushed under the heavy hand of military power, hundreds of thousands of these energetic young men thought it safest and best to make new homes in the young Republic beyond the seas. The United States therefore received a migration of the highest character and of inestimable benefit to the country.

Somewhere near 150,000 of these went to Missouri. They had none of the antipathy of Northern Americans to a Slave State. They were like their Gothic forebears, to whom it was sufficient to know that the land was good. Other matters could be settled by their strong right arms. The climate and fertility of Missouri pleased them; they saw the State’s possibilities and flocked thither. Possibly one half settled in the pleasant valleys and on the sunny prairies, following the trail of good land in the Southwest clear down to the Arkansas line. The other half settled mostly in St. Louis, and through them the city experienced another of its wonderful transformations. Beginning as a trading post of the French with the Indians, it had only as residents merchant adventurers from sunny France, officers and soldiers of the royal army and the half-breed voyageurs and trappers who served the fur companies. Next the Americans had swarmed in, and made the trading post a great market for the exchange of the grain and meat of the North, for the cotton and sugar of the South. Its merchants and people took their tone and complexion from the plantations of the Mississippi Valley. Now came these Germans, intent upon reproducing there the characteristics of the old world cities beyond the Rhine. They brought with them lager beer, to which the Americans took very readily, and a decided taste for music, painting and literature, to which the Americans were not so much inclined. German signs, with their quaint Gothic lettering and grotesque names, blossomed out on the buildings, military bands in German uniforms paraded the streets, especially on Sundays. German theaters also open on Sunday represented by astonishingly good companies the popular plays of the Fatherland, and newsboys cried the German newspapers on the streets. Those who went into the country were excellent farmers, shrewd in buying and selling, and industrious workers. They dreamed of covering the low hills of the western part of the State with the vineyards that were so profitable on the Rhine and of rivaling the products of Johannesburg and the Moselle on the banks of the Gasconade and the Maramec.

The newcomers were skilled men in their departments of civilized activities —far above the average of the Americans. They were good physicians, fine musicians, finished painters, excellent actors and skillful mechanics, and each began the intelligent exercise of his vocation, to the great advantage of the community, which was, however, shocked at many of the ways of the newcomers, particularly their devoting Sunday to all manner of merrymaking. Still more shocking was their attitude toward the Slavery question. Even those Americans who were opposed to Slavery had a respect approaching awe of the “Sacred Institution.” It had always been in the country; it was protected by a network of laws, and so feared that it could only be discussed with the greatest formality and circumspection. The radical Germans had absolutely none of this feeling. In their scheme of humanity all Slavery was so horrible that there could be no reason for its longer continuance, and it ought to be put to an end in the most summary manner. The epithet “Abolitionists,” from which most Americans shrank as from an insult, had no terrors for them. It frankly described their mental attitude, and they gloried in it as they did in being Free Thinkers. They had not rebelled against timeworn traditions and superstitions in Germany to become slaves to something worse in this.

Vigorous growths as they were, they readily took root in the new soil, became naturalized as fast as they could, and entered into the life of the country which they had elected for their homes. They joined the Republican Party from admiration of its Free Soil principles, and in the election of 1860 cast 17,028 votes for Abraham Lincoln.

Such were the strangely differing elements which were fermenting together in the formation of the great Commonwealth during those turbulent days from 1850 to 1860, and which were to be fused into unexpected combinations in the fierce heat of civil war. The same fermentation —minus the modifying influences of the radical Germans— was going on in all the States of the South except South Carolina, where the Middle Class hardly existed. Everywhere the Middle Class was strongly attached to the Union, and averse to Secession. Everywhere the Slaveowners, a small minority, but of extraordinary ability and influence, were actively preaching dissatisfaction with the Union, bitterly complaining about wrongs suffered at the hands of the North, and untiring in their machinations to win over or crush the leaders of those favorable to the Union.

Everywhere they had the “White Trash” solidly behind them to vote as they wished, and to harry and persecute the Union men. As machinery for malevolence the “White Trash” myrmidons could not be surpassed. Criminal instincts inherited from their villain forefathers made them ready and capable of anything from maiming a Union man’s stock and burning his stacks to shooting him down from ambush. They had personal feeling to animate them in this; for their depredations upon the hogs and crops of their thriftier neighbors had brought them into lifelong collisions with the Middle Class, while they had but little opportunity for resentment against the owners of the large plantations. In every State in the South the story was the same, of the Middle Class Union men being harassed at the hands of the Slaveowners by the “White Trash” hounds. They had been sent into Kansas to drive out the Free State immigrants there and secure the territory for Slavery, but though backed up by the power of the Administration, they had been signally defeated by the numerically inferior but bolder and hardier immigrants from the North.

Force rules this world; it always has; it always will. Not merely physical force, but that incomparably higher type –intellectual force—Power of Will. It seemed that in nearly all the States of the South the Slaveowners by sheer audacity, and force of will succeeded in dominating the great majority which favored the Union, and by one device or another committing them hopelessly to the rebellion. This was notably the case in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, where the majority repeatedly expressed itself in favor of the Union, but was dragooned into Secession.

In Missouri, however, the Secessionists encountered leaders with will and courage superior to their own. Many of these were Slaveowners themselves, and nearly all of them were of Southern birth. Head and shoulders above these, standing up among them like Saul among the Sons of Israel, was Frank P. Blair, then in the full powers of perfect manhood. He was 42 years old, tall and sinewy in body, blue eyed and sandy haired. He came of the best Virginia and Kentucky stock, and had long been a resident and slaveowner in Missouri. As a boy he had served in the ranks in the Mexican War, had an adventurous career on the Pacific Coast, had gone back to Missouri to achieve prominence at the bar, and as early as 1848 had come to the front as the unflinching advocate of Emancipation and the conversion of Missouri into a Free State.

Against his perfect panoply of courage and resource all the lances of the Slaveowners were hurled in vain. Their violence recoiled before him, their orators were no match for him upon the stump, and their leaders not his equal in party management. In 1852 he was elected to the Missouri Legislature as a Free Soiler, was re elected in 1854, and in 1856 to Congress. His value to the Union was immeasurable; for he was a leader around whom the Union men could rally with the utmost confidence that he would never weaken, never resort to devious ways, and never blunder. As a Southerner of the best ancestry, he was not open to the charge of being a “Yankee Abolitionist,” which had so much effect upon the Southern people of his State.

A very dangerous element was composed of a number of leaders who belonged to the Pro Slavery wing, but desiring to be elected to offices, masked their designs under the cover of the Douglas Democracy. The most important of these was Claiborne F. Jackson, a politician of moderate abilities and only tolerable courage, but of great partisan activity. He professed to be a Douglas Democrat, and as such was elected Governor at the State election. Born in Kentucky 54 years before, he had resided in Missouri since 1822. A Captain in the Black Hawk War, his service had been as uneventful and brief as that of Abraham Lincoln, who was two years his junior, and he was one of the Pro Slavery clique who had hounded the great Thomas H. Benton out of politics on account of his mild Free Soilism. In person he was tall, erect, with something of dignity in his bearing. He essayed to be an orator, had much reputation as such, but his speeches developed little depth of thought or anything beyond the customary phrases which were the stock in trade of all the orators of his class south of Mason and Dixon’s line.

The fermentation period culminated in the Presidential campaign of 1860, the hottest political battle this country had ever known.

The intensity of the interest felt in Missouri was shown by the bigness of the vote, which aggregated 165,618. As the population was but 1,182,012, of which 114,965 were slaves, it will be seen that substantially every white man went to the polls.

The newly formed Republican Party, mostly confined to the radical Germans of St. Louis, cast 17,028 votes for Abraham Lincoln.

The Slaveowners and their henchmen “Southern Rights Democrats” cast 31,317 votes for John C. Breckinridge.

The “Regular Democrats” polled 58,801 votes for Stephen A. Douglas and “Squatter Sovereignty.”

The remains of the “Old Line Whigs,” and a host of other men who did not want to be Democrats and would not be Republicans, cast 58,372 votes for John Bell, the “Constitutional Union” candidate.

Thus it will be seen that out of every 165 men who went to the polls 17 were quite positive that the extension of Slavery must cease; 31 were equally positive that Slavery should be extended or the Union dissolved; 59 favored “Squatter Sovereignty,” or local option in the Territories in regard to Slavery; 58 thought that “all this fuss about the nigger was absurd, criminal, and dangerous. It ought to be stopped at once by suppressing, if necessary, by hanging, the extremists on both sides, and letting things go on just as they have been.”

Thus so great a proportion as 117 out of the total of 165 —nearly five sevenths of the whole— professed strong hostility to the views of the “extremists, both North and South.”

The time was at hand, however, when they must make their election as to which of these opposite poles of thought and action they would drift. They could no longer hold aloof, suggesting mild political placeboes, lamenting alike the wickedness of the Northern Abolitionists and the madness of the Southern Nullifiers, and expressing a patriotic desire to hang selected crowds of each on the same trees.

South Carolina had promptly responded to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States by passing an Ordinance of Secession, and seizing all the United States forts, arsenals and other places, except Fort Sumter, within her limits.

The rest of the Cotton States were hastening to follow her example.

To the 117 “Middle of the Road” voters out of every total of 165 it was therefore necessary to choose whether they would approve of the withdrawal of States and seizures of forts, and become Secessionists, or whether they would disapprove of this and ally themselves with the much contemned Black Republicans.

It was the old, old vital question, asked so many times of neutrals with the sword at their throats: “Under which King, Bezonian? Speak, or die.”


©2003 G. E. Rule

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