Post by shawn
On Sat, 5 Sep 2020 02:09:59 -0000 (UTC), "Adam H. Kerman"
Post by Adam H. Kerman Post by shawn Post by BTR1701 Post by BTR1701 Post by David Johnston Post by BTR1701
A student at Vanderbilt University was docked points on a quiz for
rejecting the statement that "the Constitution [was] designed to
perpetuate white supremacy and protect the institution of slavery,"
according to screenshots of the quiz result.
Well it's always a problem when you have a "right/wrong" question that
is only half-true. It was designed to protect the institution of slavery.
No, it wasn't. Slavery may have been an ancillary issue that it covered,
but to say the Constitution was "designed to protect slavery" is idiotic.
It was designed to establish the parameters of a federal government and
its relation to the confederation of states which made up the new
country, and to enumerate and circumscribe the powers of that government.
That was its purpose and that's what it was designed for.
It wasn't designed to protect slavery any more than it was designed to
protect letters of marque and reprisal.
It was, and you haven't made the case that it wasn't. I've already made
the case that it codified slavery into law.
It also codified letters of marque and reprisal into law, but that
doesn't mean that's what the Constitution was designed to do.
This is the kind of technical argument that could go on forever. The
Constitution did protect slavery for a period of time is given.
The period of time being... long enough to get the Constitution
ratified. As soon as new states were added to the Union, the
Constitution no longer offered protection. They had to starting adding
two states at a time, allowing slavery to expand into territories.
Post by shawn
Yet it wasn't the point of having a Constitution or else there wouldn't
have been a limit on the protection of slavery.
I'm not sure what this means. It was merely the compromise of the United
States Senate. Nothing else in the Constitution has anything at all to
do with slavery.
Yes, I did say that it was a compromise to move ahead.
Post by Adam H. Kerman Post by shawn
If someone is approaching the issue from a BLM perspective I can see
them emphasizing that the Constitution did protect slavery (if only for
a period of time.) So it was part of it.
Or, it illustrates what's wrong with public schools if they came out
believing that. There's still nuance: The point was to thwart
abolitionists from being able to get civil rights legislation through
Congress. It's not difficult to understand that the protection of
slavery is indirect. It's not a power in the Constitution.
Post by shawn
I don't think it's the main point of the Constitution and it's hard to
see how anyone could argue that it was the main point when authors put
in a end date for the protection of slavery. Instead it was a concession
made just to get everyone to sign on the dotted line.
The main point of the lecture was that the Constitution was written to
perpetuate white supremacy. Do you believe that?
No but if someone is coming from the approach that any support of
slavery is evil I can see why someone might believe that even though
that ignores the historical context. That tells me that it's unlikely
Jon Meacham was behind this as he always comes off as being not only
quite knowledgeable about the history of the US but always trying to
take actions of the past in their historical context and not getting
lost in the politically correct world.
That said lets remember that the argument was "The Constitution [was]
designed to perpetuate white supremacy and protect the institution of
slavery". If someone wants to get really technical they could argue
that having any protection of slavery in the Constitution shows that
it was part of the design. I don't agree with that idea but I can see
how someone might make the argument and presumable one of the teachers
did make that argument.
Here is what the Constitution says (and means) about slavery:
Article I, Sec. II, Paragraph III: The Three-Fifths Clause (1787)
"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several
States which may be included within this Union, according to their
respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole
Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of
Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other Persons."
What it says: When a state’s population is counted for purposes of
representation in government.
What it means: Slaveholding states get to count their slaves to boost
their population numbers.
Article I, Section IX, Clause I: The Importation Clause (1787)
"The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now
existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the
Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a
Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten
dollars for each Person."
What it says: If states want to import slaves internationally, the
federal government won’t interfere for at least another 20 years.
What it means: The states received 20 years of autonomy to import slaves
as they saw fit before Congress could abolish the international trade.
Article IV, Sec. II, Clause III: The Fugitive Slave Clause (1787)
"No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws
thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or
Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall
be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may
What it says: If an enslaved person crosses state lines into a state
where slavery has been abolished, citizens of that state are obligated
to return the slave to their owner.
What it means: States who abolish slavery have to respect the fact that
other states have not. This puts legal slavery as the default scenario,
and abolition as the outlier.
All of these things PERPETUATES Slavery as an institution, and it IS BY
DESIGN. You can tell, because THEY WROTE IT DOWN. And signed it.
Jeeze... this ain't hard.
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