Gag rule motion

Gag rule motion, 1837

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the House of Representatives

Under the gag rule, anti-slavery petitions were not read on the floor of the House, referred to a committee, or printed. No member needed to make a motion for the rule to take effect. The rule was renewed in each Congress between 1837 and 1839. In 1840 the House passed an even stricter rule, which refused to accept all anti-slavery petitions.