Founding Brothers The Revolutionary Generation Chapter Summary

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Slavery and the slave trade is rarely addressed as more than the Emancipation Proclamation or the shining moments of Abraham Lincoln in classroom textbooks these days. However, the debate over slavery vastly predates the Civil War and was found to be a consistent topic of deliberation amongst the leaders of our nation when drafting the Constitution. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, Chapter 3: The Silence, highlights the monumental political and economical debate over the tight-lipped issue of slavery while illuminating the Founding Fathers’ fear of disunity and emphasizing the nation’s glaring division between states. Joseph Ellis’s, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, takes place in the late eighteenth …show more content…

No sooner had the Quaker petition been placed on the table of the House than a new petition arrived from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and was illustriously signed by one of the most prominent figures of the time, Benjamin Franklin. Franklin strongly campaigned for the emancipation of slavery until the very end and even went on to publish a parody of the contradictions of slavery in the United States. This new petition, along with Franklin’s resounding anti-slavery stance, brought forth an array of heated congressional debates from both Northern and Southern delegates, but was ultimately diffused by James Madison’s sly political savvy and the passage of three resolutions. Conclusively, the question of slavery was left undetermined and vague to aid in prolonging secession and to douse all governmental strategies for the liberation of slaves. When drafting the Constitution, as mentioned before, the founders never specifically mention the institution of slavery in the written document as a means to satisfy and placate the arguments of the Southern states. However, the Constitution did, in fact, safeguard the international slave trade until 1808 ultimately prohibiting any regulations on slavery but it did not impede on future conversations regarding the problem. Due to the fact that the Constitution could not prohibit debate over the issue of slavery, this in turn gave the House of Representatives the ability to lawfully dispute the inquiry following

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