Debates Over Slavery
In 1787, delegates arrived in Philadelphia to begin work on revising the Articles of Confederation. Most states agreed that the Articles had not provided the country with the type of guidelines that it needed to run smoothly. There were many things missing, and many issues that needed further consideration. One of the most controversial topics at the Constitutional Convention was figuring out the country's policy towards slavery. When all was said and done, slavery was still legal after the Convention because the southern economy depended on it and because most people decided that this was an issue that should be decided by each individual state, rather than the country as a whole.
The issue of slavery was taken very seriously at the Convention, and there were many different sides to the issue that were debated. Although the southern state's economies depended on slaves immensely, the northern states believed that the US could not in good will allow slavery because of the moral repercussions that go along with it. The US was founded in the first place because they felt that they were their own country, a separate entity from England. Now, nearly seven years later they were going to sign a document that would give Americans the right to hold people against their will and force them to work for free. This seems like a large contradiction to everything the US stands for, especially since they had just earned their own freedom a few years ago. Luther Martin of Maryland brought up this point at the Convention by saying, "
it is inconsistent with the principles of the revolution and dishonorable to the American character to have such a feature in the Constitution" (Peters 164).
Many people viewed slavery as an economic issue, and not a moral issue at all. John Rutledge of South Carolina said, "Religion and humanity have nothing to do with this question. Interest alone is the governing principle with nations. The true question at...
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