Lincoln, NE: Potomac Books, 2020
186 pp., $26.95 (hardcover)
Nothing in history has so bitterly divided Americans as the practice of slavery. Even today, a century and a half after the “peculiar institution” was abolished, debates continue over whether the authors of the Constitution intended to grant it permanent legal protection or place it—in the phrase Abraham Lincoln often used—“in the course of ultimate extinction.” According to the authors of the New York Times’s “1619 Project,” the founders designed the Constitution to preserve slavery forever—but, as the project’s critics have shown, there is ample evidence that the founders were entirely aware that slavery contradicted the principles of the American Revolution and openly wished for its demise. Yet the question persists: If the founders detested slavery, why did they let it continue? . . .
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1. Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393, 451 (1857).