Date of Award

5-1-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Josephine Bradley

Second Advisor

Dr. William Boone

Abstract

This research examines whether or not the colonial statutes of South Carolina, created between 1600 and 1787, helped to shape the American Constitution regarding race and the institution of slavery. The research suggests that South Carolina’s persistence and insistence that the institution of racial slavery be protected by the Constitution was a major influence on the perception of slavery by its framers. The Constitution was the document that ultimately encompassed most of the political thoughts and issues found in colonial America. This research was based on the premise that the field of Black Studies was in need of an analysis and comparison of the similarities between the racism that existed in colonial America and racism after the adoption of the American Constitution and its amendments. The researcher found that South Carolina’s diligence and insistence during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, that racial slavery be protected by the Constitution, was the major influence on how the American Constitution would be worded, in reference to slavery as a means of representation and possible economical gains. The conclusions drawn from the findings suggest that, the American Constitution emerged as an inherently racist document supporting slavery as a means of furthering American economic needs. The colonists in all the British colonies (South Carolina included) passed a series of laws that helped maintain the structure of slavery and gave them control over their slave labor. However, colonial South Carolina statutes, more than other colonies, were developed to maintain slavery. These statutes were later supported by the American legal system.

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