Slavery and the Confederacy, Cont.

As a quick addendum to last week's post on the Confederacy and slavery, I wanted to highlight a few passages from the Constitution of the Confederacy, which is mostly like the United States Constitution, with a few important differences. Namely, slavery. Here is Article I, Section 9:

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

Article IV, Section 2, clause 1:

The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

Article IV, Section 2, clause 3, which makes the Dred Scott decision a foundational part of Confederate law:

No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs, or to whom such service or labor may be due.

And Article IV, Section 3, which requires the CSA to recognize any new state as a "slave state":

The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

Secessionists left the Union to maintain their rights, yes, but those rights were irrevocably tied up in the institution of slavery. Which they never tried to deny. They proclaimed it in their speeches, in their documents, and in their laws. Success, for the Confederacy, was a world where slavery could continue and expand unimpeded, and wealthy planters could maintain their economic and political dominance. It's pretty straightforward.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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