Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Prior to the Thirteenth Amendment, the United States Constitution did not merely allow slavery: the document protected slavery. At the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Continental Congress vigorously debated the “peculiar institution” of slavery. The lofty ideals of the Declaration proclaimed the “inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” By the time the Constitution was adopted in 1789, the delegates all but abandoned such lofty goals to set forth an administrative guide for government. The Constitution was a pro-slavery document because of the ⅗ clause and it enabled slavery.