Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Knight

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Faubion

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Waite


It has been the argument of many scholars and historians that the institution of slavery was, when it existed, unconstitutional. Other historians have acknowledged that the Constitution did empower the institution itself, and a few have even suggested that it was generic or benign since it failed to mention the word "slavery" at all. This thesis argues that slavery would not have survived as long as it did had the Articles of Confederation remained in force beyond 1787. The movement to create a new governmental document in 1787 was also a movement to imbed slavery at the core of the nation that government created and to protect it legally through every constitutional means possible. Because of this, the United States Constitution not only enhanced and empowered the institution of slavery, but, was the principal tool used to protect and expand slavery through the implementation of constitution principles. This study will argue that at every step as the country expanded in the 1800s, the Constitution was indeed the tool used by the pro-slavery forces to expand and protect that particular institution for close to eighty years after it was authored.


Copyright 2009 Jose Juan "J.J." Guajardo. AH Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American

Included in

History Commons