Some of the things said here are really astounding. The Supreme Court cases which quoted the Constitution as grounds to help Blacks gain freedom from
Jim Crow laws, were written long after the Constitution was written. Obama was specifically speaking regarding the thinking at the time it was
written. The entire discussion in that thread, and what the original poster claimed was vague, was regarding Obama's statement that the thinking at
the time the Constitution was written was flawed and those flaws were written into the Constitution and indeed they were very literally written into
the Consitution. Here is a short discussion I found on the topic which also quotes directly from the Constitution and its provisions regarding
Despite the freedoms demanded in the Declaration and the freedoms reserved in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, slavery was not only tolerated
in the Constitution, but it was codified.
The Constitution has often been called a living tribute to the art of compromise. In the slavery question, this can be seen most clearly. The
Convention had representatives from every corner of the United States, including, of course, the South, where slavery was most pronounced. Slavery, in
fact, was the backbone of the primary industry of the South, and it was accepted as a given that agriculture in the South without slave labor was not
possible. Though slaves were not cheap by any measure, they were cheaper than hiring someone to do the same work. The cultivation of rice, cotton, and
tobacco required slaves to work the fields from dawn to dusk. If the nation did not guarantee the continuation of slavery to the South, it was
questioned whether they would form their own nation.
Slavery is seen in the Constitution in a few key places. The first is in the Enumeration Clause, where representatives are apportioned. Each state is
given a number of representatives based on its population - in that population, slaves, called "other persons," are counted as three-fifths of a
whole person. This compromise was hard-fought, with Northerners wishing that slaves, legally property, but uncounted, much as mules and horses are
uncounted. Southerners, however, well aware of the high proportion of slaves to the total population in their states, wanted them counted as whole
persons despite their legal status. The three-fifths number was a ratio used by the Congress in contemporary legislation and was agreed upon with
In Article 1, Section 9, Congress is limited, expressly, from prohibiting the "Importation" of slaves, before 1808. The slave trade was a bone of
contention for many, with some who supported slavery abhorring the slave trade. The 1808 date, a compromise of 20 years, allowed the slave trade to
continue, but placed a date-certain on its survival. Congress eventually passed a law outlawing the slave trade that became effective on January 1,
The Fugitive Slave Clause is the last mention. In it, a problem that slave states had with extradition of escaped slaves was resolved. The laws of one
state, the clause says, cannot excuse a person from "Service or Labour" in another state. The clause expressly requires that the state in which an
escapee is found deliver the slave to the state he escaped from "on Claim of the Party."
Here is a link to the site where it was published:
So, indeed, the original Constitution supports the evil of slavery.