Magazine May 6, 2019, Issue

The Constitution Was Never Pro-Slavery

(VisionsOfAmerica/Joe Sohm)
It was deliberately written to avoid establishing a legal precedent for ownership of human beings

In the world of the woke, the U.S. Constitution is, simply on its face, a document of racial oppression. No one less than Bernie Sanders has declared that the United States is “a nation” that in “many ways was created, and I’m sorry to have to say this, from way back, on racist principles.” Others are less sorry. Paul Finkelman, president of Gratz College in Philadelphia, argues that the Constitution deliberately intended to protect slavery, principally through its provisions for interstate extradition of fugitives from “service” (Art. 4 IV, Sec. 2), through the notorious three-fifths clause in Article I, Section

This article appears as “Slavery and the Constitution: A Defense” in the May 6, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Allen C. GuelzoMr. Guelzo is the senior research scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University and the director of the James Madison Program’s Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship.

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