Thursday, March 17, 2016

Slavery in the Constitution

Why did the Constitution allow slavery to continue, if the Declaration of Independence claimed that "all men are created equal?"
The Constitution allowed slavery to continue because slaves greatly benefited the colonies economically, and freeing the slaves might cause the slaves to stand up against their former owners. First of all, slavery was crucial for the economy in the colonies, especially in the southern colonies which had large populations of slaves. Southern colonies had their economies based on growing cash crops, so slaves were a very important source of labor to them. However, if slavery ended, the southern colonies would have to grow cash crops only with the work of the colonists, which meant the process would be a lot slower and inefficient. Therefore, the southern colonies would have strongly disagreed with the idea of ending slavery. In addition, the colonies as a whole had slavery, and they all wanted the new nation to be prosperous and secure their private property. Since slaves were also included in private properties, the Constitution's ending of slavery would mean that the government is taking actions that does not satisfy the General Will of its people. Therefore, the Constitution would have decided to keep slavery. Furthermore, ending slavery would mean that the slaves living in America would be free. This frightened the slave owners because if the slaves broke free from them, there was a chance for the slaves to take revenge on them. For example, the document "The Founding Fathers and Slavery" states that some people feared that "free blacks and free whites could not live harmoniously in America". This shows that slave owners feared that if they freed the slaves, they would not be able to coexist peacefully, therefore doubted the idea of ending slavery.

Do you agree with their decision? Why or why not?
I both agree and disagree with the Constitution's decision of keeping slavery in their society, because although slaves were great ways to gain profit, Thomas Jefferson himself had criticized the English King for exploiting slaves. I agree that the Constitution wanted slavery to continue because, as I said before, colonies benefited greatly from the effective labor of the slaves. Therefore, considering that the Americans wanted their new nation to be prosperous, it would have been a better choice to keep slavery to fulfill the people's will. However, as believers of John Locke, who claimed that all men are equal because they were all created by God, it is absurd to own slaves because it is treating the slaves differently. Thomas Jefferson had criticized that the Christian King of England is treating people unequally by slavery; therefore, it is ironical that Americans are taking the same actions as the English King, who they referred to as a tyrant. Also, the conflict between free slaves and colonists would have been able to be prevented if the Americans truly strived for the end of slavery. Thomas Jefferson and some others believed that

1 comment: