This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Pro Slavery Constitution Essay

753 words - 4 pages

The original version of the Constitution is a result of a series of compromises made to achieve a document that would be voted by the majority of the newly emerged states. Slavery was a very sensitive issue, as it was widely common on the continent.

It should be noted that the Declaration of Independence made it clear that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Although this progressive view was shared by many of the members of the Constitutional Convention, it is clear that the original text of the American Constitution is rather pro-slavery and up to a certain point protects the slave-owners. It is of utmost importance to note that the words slavery/slave are not used in the text of the Constitution.

The two factors that shape the Constitution as being pro-slavery: the necessity of the slaveholders to protect their private property by the means of the law and the limited support of the North for the abolition at the time of the drafting of the Constitution.

The main provisions of the Constitution that were pro-slavery at that time were:

· The 3/5 compromise over representation in the House;

· The slave trade clause;

· The fugitive slave clause.

The 3/5 compromise stated that in order to determine the number of seats in the US House of Representatives, counting 3/5 of a person for every slave present on the territory of the state (excluding completely the Indians). As a result, there would be a quasi – wealth representation on federal level, as rich Southern states with many slaveholders would have more political representation. But this clause was also linked to taxation, so that an abuse of it would subject the state to higher taxes, thus preventing buying slaves for political reasons.

The slave trade clause referred to the limitation of the power of the Congress to prohibit the import of slaves until 1808, but it did not regulate the prohibition of slavery on state level and, also, it wouldn’t be applied in the states that weren’t a part of the...

Find Another Essay On The Pro-slavery Constitution

The Contrasting Views of Pro-Slavery vs. Abolitionist

1414 words - 6 pages their beliefs in the continuation or the denouncement of slavery in the United States. To understand the contrasting views of pro-slavery advocates versus abolitionists in antebellum America, a comparison of the individual positions must be made to further understand the goals of each party. A common theme of the pro-slavery advocates in the 1800’s was the continuation of slavery for the wellbeing of the enslaved and country. During this time

Slavery, Civil Rights, and the Constitution during the 19th Century

1864 words - 7 pages movement to abolish slavery, which resulted in the American Civil War. After the Civil War was over Congress passed the three great Civil War Amendments to out constitution. In this paper I will take a closer look at Slavery, Civil Rights, and the Constitution during the 19th Century (AfricanAmericans.Com, 2004).The Dred Scott DecisionDred Scott and his wife Harriet were slaves owned by Master Sanford. In 1846, Mr. and Mrs. Scott filed suit for

The U.S. Constitution and Slavery- How the Framers of the US Constitution avoided (and allowed) slavery through carefully worded clauses

1050 words - 4 pages The framers of the Constitution of the United States chose not to prohibit slavery but to instead address the issue via carefully worded clauses. This provided a compromise for the states that were clearly divided on the issue. A close look at the document shows ambiguity in the language pertaining to the holding of slaves as the Framers debated over the extent to which slavery would be included, permitted, or prohibited. Slavery was an

Why The Issue of Slavery Was Avoided in the Drafting of the Constitution

1078 words - 4 pages When the Constitution was drafted, the men who drafted it were very particular in the way they approached the issue of slavery in our country. They carefully avoided it by only mentioning it or referring to it indirectly. They did not use the term "slave" but referred to everyone as "persons". It is rather ironic that neither the Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence, the two documents most known for establishing and declaring freedom

An essay on the Second Amendment to the Constitution, detailing interpretations of the amendment and a personal (pro) stance on the right to bear firearms

1322 words - 5 pages Gun Control* The AmendmentThe Second Amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."The first part, pertaining to militias, is widely accepted by Americans of all political persuasion. It preserves the right of each individual state to form its own "militia," the National Guard. Few

An Analysis of the Constitutional Support of Slavery

1622 words - 7 pages hidden motives, adopted the Constitution. The power and responsibility of interpretation must always lie in the hands of who it governs, be it for or against the institution of slavery. That is not to say that Constitutional interpretations are incapable of using the text to justify a tolerance towards slavery. Citing decades of rhetoric from pro-slavery politicians and citizens quickly will put an end to such naivety. Anti-Constitutional

Criticisms of the Constitution and their Legitimacy

1579 words - 7 pages Constitution supreme over the nation, and those condemning specific parts and clauses of the document itself. Both criticisms based on the view that the Constitution is pro-slavery and those arguing against the nationalist nature of the document are unfounded. One major criticism of the details of the Constitution stems from its inclusion of slavery. William Lloyd Garrison, a Massachusetts abolitionist and writer of The Liberator, argued that the

The Role of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in the Start of the Civil War

1290 words - 5 pages ” in a hope to steal the first governmental election. The “pro-slavery” players ended up victorious, but there were a few kinks in the election. At the time, there were only 2,900 registered voters in Kansas, and over 6,000 votes had been cast. In 1855, a group of Free-Staters decided to meet and reject all proslavery laws in the Kansas Territory. This group of people created the Topeka Constitution – a document which banned slavery in the

By the 1850's the Constitution became a source of sectional discord, ultimately contributing to the failure of the union. This tries to disprove this statement. *AP US DBQ from 1987

1470 words - 6 pages non-reelection of Pierce and the end to the Whig party, along with the introduction of the sectional Republican party, who opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. An attempt at forcing slavery into Kansas was made by Buchanan. He attempted to get the Lecompton Constitution through Congress but what opposed by Douglas who said it was a violation of "Popular Sovereignty". The Lecompton Constitution was a potential Kansas state Constitution developed by pro

Notes on the presidency of James Buchanan

1386 words - 6 pages also reinforced the suspicion that Southern pro-slavery elements were hatching a conspiracy. All the justices who agreed with Taney were Southerners. Furthermore, Buchanan had been sworn in just two days before by Taney.Dred Scott and his family were fortunate that his owner, now a widow, married a prominent Massachusetts abolitionist, who freed them in 1857. A year later Scott died of Tuberculosis.The Lecompton Constitution (Farmer: p. 108-112

DBQ On Sectionalism

1413 words - 6 pages debates over the Constitution and popular sovereignty, started to impact the unity of the nation and potentially split the North and South even more.The actions of the government during the period of 1850-1861 contributed to the deteriorating conditions of America, particularly in the Constitution and the Fugitive Slave Act. In 1852, William Lloyd Garrison expressed the idea that the Constitution influenced slavery in America despite the fact that

Similar Essays

Slavery And The Constitution Essay

777 words - 4 pages Slavery was widespread in the southern economy at the founding of the American colonies. Consequently, the framers of the Constitution wrote the Articles in pro-slavery ways to motivate the southern colonies to ratify the Constitution. In doing so, the framers compromised democracy in the hopes of obtaining greater national security. Thus, the text of the Constitution protected and facilitated slavery in the following ways. The Preamble

Slavery And The Constitution Essay

762 words - 4 pages Was the original Constitution a “pro-slavery” document? Did it do “more to feed the serpent than to crush it?” Was it Frederick Douglass’s “Glorious Liberty Document?” By accommodating slavery did it eventually crush its head through permanent union with economically dynamic free states and Civil War? Could slavery have been abolished at the founding? When would abolition have occurred if union had never been created? Three states would not

Slavery And The Constitution Essay

530 words - 2 pages Slavery and the Constitution The constitution was crafted as a series of compromises to replace the articles of Confederation. If our nation was to remain free it would have to stay united and this meant no one state or group could dictate to another state what the conditions would be under the new government. One of the compromises that the framers made was on the issue of slavery. The northern states were opposed and the Southern states wanted

Slavery And The American Constitution Essay

632 words - 3 pages 700,000 slaves (18% of the population) in the United States of America. The idea of slavery in America was based on race and wealth. Patriots were talking about liberty and equality and it was one of the things the American Revolution of 1775 had set out to do as did the Constitution in granting American’s rights within the Preamble. However, African American slaves felt that they should be granted the same rights under the