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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the historiography of slave law in the United States. Slave law in the United States developed over 225 years through a complicated mixture of custom, statutes, and court decisions. Before the American Revolution of 1776 England never micromanaged the colonies or promulgated a colonial slave code. Each of the thirteen colonies that became the United States had its own legislatures and court structures, and thus each colony developed slave law in its own way. This local development continued after the revolution, as each state had its own rules and regulations. The US Constitution, written in 1787, did not interfere with slavery in the states, but had a number of provisions which directly and indirectly impacted slavery throughout the nation.

Keywords: United States, Constitution, slave law, slavery

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