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The Root of the Problem: How the Proslavery Constitution Shaped American Race Relations

Barry Law Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2003

17 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2009  

Paul Finkelman

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

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

This article is about how the Constitution, prior to the 13th Amendment, gave special protection to slavery as a way to preserve the southern economy and racial control. The words “negro,” “black,” and “slave” were left out of the Constitution itself to expedite the process and avoid antagonizing northern constituents, though descriptions were clear and unmistakable. Special treatment provided by the “three-fifths clause,” “slave trade clause,” “capitation tax clause,” “fugitive slave clause,” and the prohibition of any amendment of the salve importation or capitation clauses before 1808 guaranteed that slavery was protected.

Suggested Citation

Finkelman, Paul, The Root of the Problem: How the Proslavery Constitution Shaped American Race Relations (2003). Barry Law Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1432125

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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