David answered on
Nov 30 2019
Slavery, as the term suggests by itself, is the practice of depriving individuals from having their fundamental human rights i.e. it is all about enforcing people to do the works of personal choice regardless of the fact that they are bound to be given the personal space and freedom in a free and constitutionally fixed society. In the context of American society, slavery has been identical with the racial invasion, assuming that one class, race or even gender is superior to other. Since the early foundation lay through Declaration of Independence, the legal interventions are made to ensure that the society is free from any biased perspective held against anyone in the society itself. US Supreme Court has always held that verdict intact. The slavery verdicts since the 18th century up to now by Supreme Court are the outcome of the internal support through constitution along with the need of structuring a society which is impartial and transparent in building the fair social spheres for all classes of the society.
Historical Background of the Slavery Laws in US
At first, before viewing the role and significant intervention legally served by Supreme Court in the process of abolishing slavery, it is important to see the historical documentations of the same. There were basically two kinds of slavery practices prevailing in the American society on or before the time since colonization.
These types of slavery included the fugitive and free African Americans. The fugitive slaves were the people who sought shelter in America and were trapped in there. Their identity was forcefully subdued and they were forced to work under the supervision of someone native. (Dr. Bronson, 2017) However, at the same time, the free African American slaves were the people who had worked for their slavery rights i.e. they were freed from the slavery but they still were struggling to have their rights in a free society.
In the year 1776 when the Declaration of the Independence was done, the initial formation of the constitution began taking shape. The document stated that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Dr. Bronson, 2017) thus, with the very onset of the American democracy, it was agreed by the society of the legal scholars that the time had come to follow the concept of equality instead of indulging in the foul practices of the slavery traditions.
Regardless of the legal initiatives taken in the Declaration of Independence, the social contexts of slavery were still vehement i.e. the people of so called superior race were not ready to compromise with their rights to be intervened by law. They were trying to practice slavery with all their might and they got initial success by keeping the slaves intact. Within a period of 1776 to 1860, US courts—Supreme Court is the prime investigator and decision maker body in this context—could view the conflicts between the slaves and their masters. Over a 100 piece of documents are serving the purpose of historical evidences of the cases fought and won in favor of the slaves in that period.
Constitutional Provisions: Articles Strengthening the Powers of Supreme Court
In the same context, it is noticeable here that with the framing of the American constitution, some powers were given to the legislative bodies to hold their command over the law as supreme i.e. the mentioning of a few articles in the Declaration of Independence gives a
ief overview of the gradual rise of legal interventions in the process of abolishing the slavery through Supreme Court verdicts.
At first, it is also significant to highlight that two complex forms of slavery are always viewed as intermixed by the court. The fugitive and the free African American slaves got their first set of rights to live in a free society by these interventions made by the law. However, the technical glitch in the process of framing a unified law was clear; the states were free to conduct their rules and legislations in terms of practicing or abolishing the practice of slavery. It was like keeping the varying ideas of people who were the honorable statesmen under one legal document in the form of constitution, however, based on their demographical differences, it was not possible to implement the single law against slavery and it enforced US Supreme Court later to seek help of the legislative bodies—the support of the Congress—in order to make sure that its stand over slavery is not on slippery grounds. (Finkelman, 2012)
Another important mark in framing the constitutional provision is Article 4 in Section 1 of the Document of Confederation though, there is no direct legal intervention made through it. The article is stated as , “The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and redress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties impositions and restrictions, as the inhabitants thereof respectively." (Dr. Bronson, 2017)
To elaborate, this section 1 states that the ‘expected state of justice’ should be awarded to the people of states as free individuals and law abiding citizens should follow the rule of living framed thus. Now, the expectations of justice come through the point that there were several social spheres and contexts in which the people were addressing and redressing their concerns in terms of law i.e. the states were not adhering to the point that they can allow a unified code of ethics to be followed by all American citizens. Thus, it was up to the states to follow the legislative assembly decisions and regulate them accordingly. The States were also allowed to have their own constitutional rights given to their citizens, as per the rule.
Later, on July 13th 1787 with the formation of North te
itorial Government, the scale of servitudes through legalized form of slavery were reduced by Article VI in the Declaration of Independence. It was more like an amending power in the hands of the government to make sure that the equal rights were distributed through the strict regulation of Article VI.
With reference to Article 1 section 9 and Article IV section 2 and 3, the success of the immigrants from one state to another was determined by the constitution and it was actually the onset kind of landmark which led the slaves of people to think of working over their fundamental human rights in a free society. People began to think over the process of migration from their native states to all other provinces and these sections were about allowing them to do so. With the core value of equality intact in the roots, the constitutional rights were allowed to be followed by the law to US citizens whether they are free or slaves.
In fact, US constitution always perceived slavery as an institution in itself, weakening the...