What problems and benefits do you see coming from the framers of the Constitution never actually mentioning the word “slavery”? Explain your answer.
One major benefit of never mentioning the word "slavery" in the Constitution was that the Framers intended for future generations to decide whether or not to continue the practice. There were many controversies at the Constitutional Convention, and the Founders did not intend to make slavery yet another issue. A problem would come much later when abolitionists and slave owners would debate whether or not the Constitution permitted slavery.
When the Constitution was drafter in 1787, slavery was unfortunately not a very contentious issue. Many of the Founders who owned slaves thought that the practice would die out on its own. Very few people had progressive views on race, since most of the world still practiced some form of slavery. To not alienate a large number of slave owners who attended the Convention, slavery was never mentioned by name in the original Constitution. The Founders had other issues to sort out, such as the structure of government and how to decide on representation. The Founders believed that future generations should have the responsibility of peacefully settling the slavery issue.
The problem with never mentioning "slavery" by name in the original document was that both abolitionists and slave holders would later claim that the Founders supported their viewpoints. Slaveholders would claim that the Constitution supported property rights and that the federal government had no authority to limit the ownership or movement of property, even if that property was human. Abolitionists would claim that the slaves had inalienable rights to freedom that extended to all people. Throughout the 1850s, significant pieces of legislation such as the Fugitive Slave Act came down in favor of the slave holders' property rights; this helped to fuel the fire that would lead to the Civil War.
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