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The Dark Alchemy of the Three Fifths Clause

Guest Speaker: Dr. Richard Bell

2021-02-23 18:00:00 2021-02-23 19:00:00 America/New_York The Dark Alchemy of the Three Fifths Clause Virtual -

Tuesday, February 23
6:00pm - 7:00pm

Add to Calendar 2021-02-23 18:00:00 2021-02-23 19:00:00 America/New_York The Dark Alchemy of the Three Fifths Clause Take a deep dive into the darkest corners of the 1787 federal Constitution and explore the wicked alchemy of the Three-Fifths Clause and its effect on US history before the Civil War. Virtual -

Take a deep dive into the darkest corners of the 1787 federal Constitution and explore the wicked alchemy of the Three-Fifths Clause and its effect on US history before the Civil War.

The original United States Constitution looked both ways. Its preamble announces its purpose to secure “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” an important acknowledgment that liberty is the goal and right of all citizens. Better still, the Bill of Rights, a list of ten amendments added to the Constitution in 1791, recognizes freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, and of petition—four freedoms that would come to serve as major channels for antislavery action and expression in the decades before the Civil War.

Yet, most constitutional scholars regard the 1787 Constitution as being vigorously pro-slavery, something that becomes apparent when we take a long hard look at its infamous Three-Fifths Clause. Far more insidious than is commonly understood, the Three-Fifths Clause wove slaveholder power into the fabric of each of all three branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—shaping every aspect of federal policy regarding slavery for decades to come. And it turns out that the Three-Fifths clause was just one of almost a dozen clauses in the original Constitution that affected the relationships of the government of the United States to slavery and the slave trade. Through the chemistry of those other clauses, the many delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention who were slaveholders themselves, or who slavery-dependent or slavery-adjacent, worked to prop up and protect that institution. “Considering all circumstances,” one slave-owning delegate later boasted, “we have made the best terms for the security of this species of property it was in our power to make.”

This event is presented in partnership with the Howard County Library System.

This event will be presented through Crowdcast. Registration is required. 

To Register: 

1. Click the "Register" button on this page, which will direct you to the Crowdcast page.
2. Click the 'Save my spot!' button.
3. Enter your email address or social media login.
4. Check your email for a confirmation and a link to join the event, along with the option to add the event to your calendar.

Dr. Richard Bell, a history professor at the University of Maryland, explores how such delegates did their work, reconstructs all the contemporary opposition their work generated, and considers the legacy of clauses like Three-Fifths in our post-slavery world.

AGE GROUP: | Teens | Adults |

EVENT TYPE: | Story Time |

TAGS: | Virtual | Black History Month |

Charles County Public Library events are accessible for all. If you have an accessibility request, please contact programs@ccplonline.org three business days prior to the event.

Virtual


Hours
We're closed Monday May 27 due to CLOSED: MEMORIAL DAY
Mon, May 27 Closed
(CLOSED: MEMORIAL DAY)
Tue, May 28 9:00AM to 8:00PM
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Thu, May 30 9:00AM to 8:00PM
Fri, May 31 1:00PM to 5:00PM
Sat, Jun 01 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Sun, Jun 02 Closed

About the library

Upcoming events

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Thu, May 30, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
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Mon, Jun 24, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Come to our Spanish Virtual Conversational Club and make new amigos as you learn new vocabulary and practice speaking the language. Basic Spanish vocabulary is required. íTe esperamos!