Skip to content

Slaveholders' Union Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic

ISBN-10: 0226846709

ISBN-13: 9780226846705

Edition: 2011

Authors: George William Van Cleve

List price: $30.00
Blue ribbon 30 day, 100% satisfaction guarantee!
Buy eBooks
what's this?
Rush Rewards U
Members Receive:
Carrot Coin icon
XP icon
You have reached 400 XP and carrot coins. That is the daily max!


After its early introduction into the English colonies in North America, slavery in the United States lasted as a legal institution until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865. But increasingly during the contested politics of the early republic, abolitionists cried out that the Constitution itself was a slaveowners' document, produced to protect and further their rights. A Slaveholders' Unionfurthers this unsettling claim by demonstrating once and for all that slavery was indeed an essential part of the foundation of the nascent republic. In this powerful book, George William Van Cleve demonstrates that the Constitution was pro-slavery in its politics, its economics, and its law. He convincingly shows that the Constitutional provisions protecting slavery were much more than mere "political" compromisesthey were integral to the principles of the new nation. By the late 1780s, a majority of Americans wanted to create a strong federal republic that would be capable of expanding into a continental empire. In order for America to become an empire on such a scale, Van Cleve argues, the Southern states had to be willing partners in the endeavor, and the cost of their allegiance was the deliberate long-term protection of slavery by America's leaders through the nation's early expansion. Reconsidering the role played by the gradual abolition of slavery in the North, Van Cleve also shows that abolition there was much less progressive in its originsand had much less influence on slavery's expansionthan previously thought. Deftly interweaving historical and political analyses, A Slaveholders' Unionwill likely become the definitive explanation of slavery's persistence and growthand of its influence on American constitutional developmentfrom the Revolutionary War through the Missouri Compromise of 1821.
Customers also bought

Book details

List price: $30.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 11/30/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 408
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.188

List of Illustrations
Slavery in the American Revolution
From Empire to Confederation
Abolition, Slavery Reform, and the Climate of Opinion
The Making of the Slaveholders' Constitution
Property and Republican Representation
Sectional Bargaining and Moral Union
Slavery in the New Nation
From Constitution to Republican Empire
The Missouri Compact and the Rule of Law
Conclusion: Slavery and the Dismal Fate of Madisonian Politics
Notes on the Law of Slavery and Bound Labor
Calculating Nonslaveholder Voting Strength
Calculations in Support of Table 4.1
House of Representatives Action on the Quaker Memorials