Gnosis: In his early political career Thomas Jefferson took actions that he hoped would put an end to slavery. He drafted the Virginia law of 1778 prohibiting the importation of enslaved Africans. In 1784 he proposed an ordinance banning slavery in the new territories of the Northwest. From the mid-1770's he advocated a plan of gradual emancipation, by which all born into slavery after a certain date would be declared free. Thomas Jefferson abhorred slavery. He said that "All men are created equal," and he meant it. Ben Franklin was the first president of the first anti-slavery society in the United States. In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance outlawed slavery in the Midwest. Richard Bassett, a Signer of the Constitution, converted to Methodism, freed all his slaves and paid them as hired labor. John Quincy Adams fought to end slavery by removing Congress' Gag Rule. In 1807, Congress passed the Slave Importation Act, prohibiting further importation of slaves. Prior to the Civil War, 19 of the 34 States outlawed slavery: In 1856, U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts helped found the Republican Party, which had as its original platform: "to prohibit...those twin relics of barbarism: polygamy and slavery."