(Episode 32) Penance for America's Original Sin: The 13th Amendment

In the Declaration of Independence, our Founders proclaimed that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  How, then, can we reconcile these principals with the history, both in the world and in the American colonies, of slavery?

We can't.  "Slavery is America's original sin."  Though some Founders sought to include the imposition of slavery as one of the many grievances in the Declaration of Independence, the clause was ultimately removed.  So begins the difficult, frustrating, and long journey toward abolition of slavery in the United States.

In this episode, we focus on the Thirteenth Amendment, which amended Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution and abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States.

Slavery is a difficult, brutal, uncomfortable topic. But that makes it all the more important that we talk about it honestly and that we address it as best we can. We cannot ignore or change our history. Instead, we must examine it, understand our shortcomings, and continue to strive for a "more perfect union."

There are an abundance of resources on this topic. Here are some of the ones we used:

-The Prigg v. Pennsylvania and Dred Scott decisions;
-The text of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1973;
-A brief history of slavery, which lasted long into the 1960s (and that's not a typo), and an explanation of the economics of slavery;
-A discussion of the broader implications of the 13th Amendment;
-A shout out to Lisa Langford, a playwright and actress who has taught us more than she knows.