E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in the Washington Post:
Consider how much less freedom so many of us would have without civil rights or voting rights laws, without government student loans, without labor laws, without public schools and without Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. (And we don't take seriously enough the implications of a most basic fact of our national story: that it took big government in Washington to outlaw slavery.)
To write that "it took big government in Washington to outlaw slavery" distorts the story. The same "big government in Washington" enacted and enforced the Fugitive Slave Act until an abolition movement of preachers and newspaper editors forced the issue.