Slavery and the Ratification of the Constitution

Slavery was a crucial issue for the Founders. By collecting and publishing here in one volume substantial documentation on the issue of slavery during the debate over the ratification of the Constitution, it is hoped that readers will gain a deeper appreciation of the founding generation--slaveholders, opponents of slavery, and slaves--as it grappled with its seemingly insoluble moral, social, and economic dilemma. This edition is taken from John P. Kaminski, ed., A Necessary Evil? Slavery and the Debate Over the Constitution, published by Madison House. Many of the documents are taken from the files of or have been published in The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, 1787-1791, published by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. A Necessary Evil? is one of several ancillary volumes published by the editors of the Documentary History intended to make original documents available to a broader audience, including college and high school classes.
Ratification of the Constitution Project
John P. Kaminski, Project Director and Coeditor 
Gaspare J. Saladino, Coeditor 
Richard Leffler, Senior Associate Editor 
Charles H. Schoenleber, Associate Editor

Ratification Image One

Ratification Image Two

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Sponsors and Supporters

University of Wisconsin-
The National Historical Publications
and Records Commission
The National Endowment
for the Humanities
The E. Gordon Fox Fund
The Lynde and Harry Bradley
The Hamilton Roddis

And Many Individual Contributors

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This page updated 11 February 2004