Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1

Document 5

A Federal Republican

28 Oct. 1787Storing 3.6.22

The next thing which we proceed to, is the importation of slaves, contained in the ninth section of the first article. It says, that "the migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by Congress prior to the year 1808, but a tax or duty may be imposed upon such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person." ["]The truth is, (says a citizen of America) Congress cannot prohibit the importation of slaves during that period; but the laws against the importation of them into any particular state stand unrepealed. An immediate abolition of slavery would be ruin upon the whites and misery upon the blacks in the southern states. The constitution therefore hath wisely left each state to pursue its own measures with respect to this article of legislation during the period of twenty one years." That the importation of slaves shall not be forbidden till that time may be very wise--but what hath that to do with the abolition of slavery? To prohibit the importation of slaves is not to abolish slavery. For all that is contained in this constitution, this country may remain degraded by this impious custom till the end of time.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 3, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1, Document 5
The University of Chicago Press

Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

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