Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What the Constitution Really Says About Race and Slavery

David Azerrad / /

Many remain confused about the status of slavery under the original Constitution. One hundred and fifty years ago this month, the 13th Amendment officially was ratified, and with it, slavery finally was abolished in America. The New York World hailed it as “one of the most important reforms ever accomplished by voluntary human agency.”  The newspaper said the amendment “takes out of politics, and consigns to history, an institution incongruous to our political system, inconsistent with justice and repugnant to the humane sentiments fostered by Christian civilization.”

With the passage of the 13th Amendment—which states that “[n]either slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”—the central contradiction at the heart of the Founding was resolved. Eighty-nine years after the Declaration of Independence had proclaimed all men to be free and equal, race-based chattel slavery would be no more in the United States.... To Read More....

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