As they wrote the Constitution, many Americans knew slavery was wrong. In what ways is this claim supported?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that a case can be made to support this idea.  The fact that slavery was one of the major issues that ripped apart the Constitutional Convention indicates this.  The delegates charged with writing the document had to have known how wrong slavery was, given the passionate opposition the issue arose in many of the delegates.  The reality was that along with representation, slavery was one of the most controversial issues in the writing of the Constitution.  At the same time, the delegates understood that the volatility of the issue, its intrinsic sense of wrong, had to be addressed.  The Constitution addressed it in a manner that represented how the delegates recognized, at the very least, that the issue was wrong, but incapable of resolution.  The call to allow slavery to continue for 20 years and then become regulated by the federal government was one of the earliest attempts of American leaders lacking the courage to address a sensitive issue and "kick the can down the road" to prevent taking a side.  This would lend credence to the idea that many Americans understood the sensitive nature of slavery and understood how it could be perceived as wrong and yet chose to do little about it in a definitive manner.

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