Paula Smith

Course name

Professor’s name

Date submitted

Slavery in the Constitutional Convention

      Slavery is an inevitable part of the long history of the United States. It has been existing for thousands of years in different cultures across the globe. By the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slavery was a harsh reality because the census revealed that there were slaves in every state except in Massachusetts and some districts of Vermont and Maine. In the 1780s, there was no relevant move to abolish slavery in the United States because in the nation’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, slavery was not even mentioned.

However, there were certainly opponents of slavery on a philosophical level. But the movement to abolish slavery only came up in 1830s when the American Anti-Slavery Society was established by William Lloyd Garrison. It should also be noted that even before the Constitutional Convention of 1787, there were many who expressed their resentment on slavery like John Jay who was a supporter of the Constitution and said, “It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honor of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused."

The second major argument in the Constitutional Convention came to an end with a historic compromise. Even if the word slave did not actively appear in any part of the United States Constitution, it surely played a critical role during the Convention. Participants from the South raised the point that any attempt to ban slavery will provoke the Southern states to leave the convention because slavery is the backbone of the primary industry of the South which is agriculture. Even if slaves were not cheap, it was way cheaper than to hire another person to do the same job. “The cultivation of...