Paul Finkelman


The Constitution of 1787 was a proslavery document, designed to prevent any national assault on slavery, while at the same time structured to protect the interests of slaveowners at the expense of African Americans and their antislavery white allies. To understand this earliest form of affirmative action, I begin with a view of the Constitution first articulated by the great abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, and then turn to an examination of the Convention that wrote the Constitution and the document that convention produced.