Monday, February 15, 2010

Changes in repugnant transactions are sometimes gradual

Years from now we may look back on the gradual change in the status of same sex marriage , for example, or the ability of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, and be puzzled at what took so long. But it's useful to look back on the abolition of slavery to get some perspective.
In 1780, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania passed An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, starting with children born in Pennsylvania following the passage of the act, but not altering the status of slaves owned by Pennsylvanians at the time of the act.

It took another 85 years before the 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." The 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.

HT: Volokh conspiracy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not sure how repugnant it was, but look how long it took women to get the vote.