Slavery and the Constitution

WedgewoodWhat do Dickinson College history majors and Bernie Sanders have in common?  Lately, they’ve both been involved (albeit indirectly) in a pretty bitter academic debate over whether or not the original US Constitution should be considered pro-slavery or anti-slavery.   The story behind how this unlikely argument has escalated in September and October 2015 can be found in a series of blog posts from the History 404 seminar on the US Constitution.

Students in History 117 will be especially interested in that first post (Arguing Over Slavery), which includes a video clip of Senator Bernie Sanders speaking about the “racist principles” behind the founding of the US, the response in the pages of the New York Times from historian Sean Wilentz, and comments from Prof. Pinsker about how this debate might play out in our classroom.

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