Racism and the Constitution

Essay by sense4nursingUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2004

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The Constitution has often been called a living tribute to the art of compromise. The delegates of the Constitutional Convention came from all over the country. Each individual came with the intention to keep his interests, as well as, the interests of the region they represented secure. These were educated men with considerable wealth, most of which were involved in politics previously. Several of the Constitutional compromises were made in the area of slavery and the terms used are racist. Slave owners did not see slaves as people, instead viewed them as part of their property, therefore not worthy of the rights given to other men and women. Although slavery was starting to be viewed as philosophically wrong, many of the delegates were slave owners themselves.

By the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, slavery in the United States was a widespread reality. In the census of 1790, there were slaves counted in almost every state with the exception of Massachusetts and the districts of Vermont and Maine.

The census concluded that of the 3.8 million people that were counted in the United States, 700,000 of them were slaves.

When the Constitutional Convention met, in the 1780's, there was no great movement to abolish slavery. There were opponents of slavery on a philosophical level; however, many Americans believed that slaves were essential for the economy of this new nation to succeed. Prior to the Convention in 1787, many "Founding Fathers" expressed opinions that condemned slavery, however these are the same men who owned slaves themselves.

The Convention had representatives from every corner of the country, including the south, where slavery was most common. Each representative had his own special interests according to the area of the country that he represented, both politically and philosophically. Obviously, these differences of opinion...