The Constitutional Convention of 1787 is an important milestone in American history. It is during this convention that the founding fathers came together to draft the Constitution of the United States. One of the most controversial issues that they had to address was the issue of slavery. It was a contentious issue that threatened to derail the formation of the new nation. There was a lot of debate and negotiation that took place before an agreement was finally reached. In this article, we will explore the implied agreement that was reached about slavery during the Constitutional Convention.
The Founding Fathers knew that the issue of slavery was a ticking time bomb that could potentially lead to the collapse of the new nation. They recognized that slavery was a morally wrong and reprehensible institution that was incompatible with the principles of liberty and justice upon which the nation was founded. However, they also knew that any attempt to abolish slavery outright would be met with fierce resistance from the southern states. The southern states were heavily dependent on slavery for their economic survival, and they were not willing to give it up without a fight.
As a result, the Founding Fathers decided to take a pragmatic approach to the issue of slavery. They recognized that a compromise was necessary to ensure that the new nation could be formed without tearing itself apart. The compromise that they came up with was to allow slavery to continue, but with certain restrictions.
The most significant restriction that was imposed on slavery was the Three-Fifths Compromise. This compromise stated that slaves would be counted as three-fifths of a person when determining the population of a state for the purposes of determining the number of representatives that each state would have in the House of Representatives. This compromise gave the southern states more representation in the House, but it also ensured that the northern states would have enough representation to prevent the southern states from dominating the government.
Another restriction that was imposed on slavery was the Fugitive Slave Clause. This clause required that escaped slaves who fled to other states be returned to their owners. This clause was a significant victory for the southern states because it ensured that they would be able to recover their runaway slaves even if they fled to states where slavery was not legal.
The Founding Fathers also made a tacit agreement not to interfere with slavery in the southern states. They recognized that slavery was deeply entrenched in the southern economy and culture, and they did not want to risk a civil war by trying to abolish it. Instead, they hoped that slavery would gradually die out over time as the nation grew and developed.
In conclusion, the implied agreement that was reached about slavery during the Constitutional Convention was that slavery would be allowed to continue, but with certain restrictions. The Three-Fifths Compromise and the Fugitive Slave Clause were significant restrictions that were imposed on slavery, but the Founding Fathers also made a tacit agreement not to interfere with slavery in the southern states. The issue of slavery would continue to be a contentious issue throughout American history, but the compromise that was reached at the Constitutional Convention allowed the nation to be formed and laid the groundwork for future efforts to end the institution of slavery.