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Affirmative Action for the Master Class: The Creation of the Proslavery
Constitution

48 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2008 Last revised: 12 Aug 2009

Paul Finkelman

University of Pittsburgh, School of Law; Albany Law School - Government Law Center

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

In 1787 the Constitutional Convention made a series of compromises on slavery that led to the creation of a proslavery Constitution. This article argues that this was the nation's first form of "affirmative action" as the Constitution explicitly protected only one form of private property: slaves. The Constitution of 1787 was a proslavery document, designed to prevent any national assault on slavery, while at the same time structured to protect the interests of slave owners at the expense of African Americans and their antislavery white allies. To understand this earliest form of affirmative action, this article examines the argument that the constitution was proslavery and then explains the Convention that wrote the Constitution and the document that convention produced.

Keywords: affirmative action, Constitutional Convention of 1787

Suggested Citation

Finkelman, Paul, Affirmative Action for the Master Class: The Creation of the Proslavery Constitution (1999). Akron Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 423, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1105376

Paul Finkelman (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh, School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-2079 (Phone)

Albany Law School - Government Law Center ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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