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...