The initial Constitution of the United States that replaced the Articles of Confederation was only possible due to many compromises on the issue of slavery. Without these compromises, the Southern States would likely not have approved the Constitution and left the Union in 1787.
Waldstreicher points out that the word “slavery” is hardly mentioned in the Constitution but was inferred in many instances; most people knew what was meant. Many of the framers from the North and others opposed to slavery knew that they had to compromise in order to get the Constitution ratified. Slavery’s end would have to wait for a bloody Civil War.
Waldstreicher divides his book into three periods: before the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Convention itself, and the ratification period. The book is an interesting exploration of the influence of slavery on early American politics and life and is recommended to those interested in slavery in the U.S. and constitutional history.
David Waldstreicher is a professor of history at Temple University. He is the author of The Struggle Against Slavery (2005), Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution (2004), In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes (1997), and other books and articles.