Essay Example on the Role of Slavery and the Constitution

Published: 2022-05-04 09:41:35
Essay Example on the Role of Slavery and the Constitution
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Slavery Constitution
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1245 words
11 min read

In the 17th and 18th centuries, slavery was practiced throughout the American colonies. Slaves built the new nation from Africa and transformed into an economic capital by producing profitable crops such as cotton and tobacco. The mid-19th century saw America expanding to the west and attempts made to abolish the slave trade. However, the result was the rise of a debate over slavery that led to the occurrence of the Civil War. As such, it can be depicted that various stakeholders were in support of slave trade including the constitution. The essay will explore the role of slavery and the US Constitution in favor of the practice.

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The enslaved Africans were employed in plantations but also worked in other capacities. Some slaves were domestic workers and worked as maids, launderers, and butlers among others. Others were given duties as stable boys, hostlers, and carriage drivers while some were artisans who practiced as blacksmiths, coopers, and spinners. However, it is vital to note that all of them still served as part of plantation labor workers (Mintz). Every plantation economy constituted a section of the significant national and international political share. For instance, cotton controlled the growth of the Southern economy and further dominated the national development as well. It even ended up managing the national and global political economy (Kulikoff 47). Its success was highly promoted by slaves who worked tirelessly on the plantations.

Slaves were a cheap source of labor and considered a vital part of the political and economic capital of the US. Africans who had been enslaved were lawfully a form of property or commodity. They were regularly utilized as collateral in undertaking all types of corporate dealings. Additionally, they were also traded for other kinds of goods and services. After investing in slaves, the value obtained would be used to get loans and purchase more slaves or other assets such as land. Besides, slaves were also used to pay off debts. The value of every slave was included in the calculation of the value of estates. As such, the strategy became a foundation of tax income for the national and local administrations. Also, taxes were imposed on the slave transactions (Beckert and Rockman 31). Therefore, it is evident that slaves undertook a fundamental function in the growth and development of the US economy and the local and state governments supported all activities.

The North of the US had capitalists who invested in banks and insurance firms. The insurance companies offered insurance for people who had invested in slavery. Also, some foreign investors in the Southern securities had been given slaves on a mortgage. Slave trade was therefore critical to the modernization and continuation of the US economy.

An analysis of the constitution has indicated that it does not contain the word "slave." It was avoided on claims that it would dishonor the constitution. Slavery was given underlying securities in the constitution. For instance, the three-fifths clause gave the Southern region an additional symbolization in the House of Representatives. It further provided them a higher chance of winning in the Electoral College. Furthermore, the constitution proscribed the Congress from prohibiting the Atlantic slave profession for more than ten years. On the other hand, a fugitive slave clause was incorporated and required slaves who had run away to be taken back to their owners. The federal government was given power by the constitution to end the domestic revolutions including the one entailing slaves (Tushnet, Graber and Levinson 52). Consequently, the US constitution immensely contributed to the practice of slave trade.

The US constitution played a crucial role in supporting slavery in the country. The constitution integrated a feature that made African slaves beneficial to the southern states or political capital. The protection of slavery under the US constitution can be purported to have led to the creation of a federally protected system of tolerance, discrimination, and racism. An analysis of the heritage of slavery depicts that former slaves were given citizenship rights and "equal protection" of the constitution in the 14th Amendment. In the 15th Amendment, those constitutional provisions were dishonored making it hard for the former slaves to obtain a position in the post-war economy. Restrictive codes governing black people were put forth. Also, there were deteriorating prescribed schedules like sharecropping. It is apparent that there was an exceptional degree of black participation in the political life of America. However, the restoration was entirely unsatisfying for the African Americans. It only resulted in the rebirth of the white dominance. Racist organizations began to rise (Mintz).

The civil rights movement of the 1960s began after the resistance and led to substantial levels of discrimination and racism in the US. It led to the achievement of the ultimate social and political advantages for blacks since the reconstruction (Elisha 25). As such, it is apparent that slavery and its protection under the US constitution are what led to the creation of a system protected by the federal government of tolerance to discrimination and racism.

The Founding Fathers in America usually refers to rich white men who fixed the constitution to aid in their political and financial interests. They would talk like essential democrats but did not give women the right to vote. The Founding Fathers also attached a significant value to the political worth of slaves and viewed human slavery as being in line with a democracy that had been created on rights which were not explicitly specified. Additionally, the Founding Fathers aimed at developing political systems to cater for economic inequality. However, in the end, social stability was attained, and every class was given a share of governance (Richter 17). As such, the fear of a Civil War that would lead to the disruption of a newly formed nation would not be a reprieve to the Founding Fathers as it would also be detrimental to their economic benefits.

The essay has explored the role of slavery and its support by the US constitution. Slaves were a crucial part of the growth and development of the US political and financial economy in various ways. They were employed in plantations, and others served as domestic workers. Slaves were a source of cheap labor and critical in the political and economic capital of the US. The constitution protected the practice of human slavery and even gave it essential securities. Protection of slavery under the US constitution has been observed to have resulted in a protected system of racism, discrimination, and tolerance. It promoted the practice of these aspects. On the other hand, the occurrence of a Civil War which would disrupt a newly formed nation would not be a reprieve to the Founding Fathers. They would view it as harmful to the economy and thus, disrupt the benefits received. They owned a significant number of properties and were almost in control of the economy.

Works cited

Beckert, Sven, and Seth Rockman. Slavery's Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development. , 2016, pp. 31.

Elish, Dan. The Civil Rights Movement: Then and Now. , 2018, pp. 25.

Kulikoff, Allan. Tobacco And Slaves: The Development Of Southern Cultures In The Chesapeake, 1680-1800. UNC Press Books, 2012, pp. 104-157.

Mintz, Steven. "Historical Context: The Constitution And Slavery". Gilderlehrman.Org, 2017, Accessed 10 Apr 2018.

Richter, William L. Historical Dictionary of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2012, pp. 17.

Tushnet, Mark V, Mark A. Graber, and Sanford Levinson. The Oxford Handbook of the U.s. Constitution. , 2015, pp. 52.

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