Magazine September 30, 2019, Issue

The Anti-Slavery Constitution

Frederick Douglass (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)
From the Framers on, Americans have understood our fundamental law to oppose ownership of persons

It’s become an article of faith on the left that America was founded by racists who wrote the Constitution in part to preserve slavery. Historian David Waldstreicher calls it “a proslavery constitution, in intention and effect.” Yale law professor Akhil Amar labels the Constitution “pro-slavery.” Author Ibram Kendi claims that the Framers “embraced Black inferiority” and “enshrined the power of slaveholders and racist ideas in the nation’s founding document.” And the New York Times “1619 Project” purports to “reframe” American history by positing not only that the United States was founded “as a slavocracy” but that “nearly everything that has

This article appears as “The Glorious Liberty Document” in the September 30, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Timothy Sandefur is the Goldwater Institute’s vice president for litigation. He authored a friend-of-the-court brief in Brackeen v. Bernhardt.

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