Declaration of Independence

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. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

No Claims for Emancipated Slaves

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “… or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”  This provision means that no one could claim losses for the emancipation of their slaves or for losses fighting the emancipation of slaves.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained, “Prior to the war there had been a number of plans for the emancipation of the slaves through compensation to their owners, but these had been rejected.  Since the slaves had now been emancipated by force of arms as well as by law, no slave owner would be allowed to claim that he lost his slaves without due process and without compensation.”  (See The Making of America – the Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 727.)

                Paul Moreno of The Heritage Foundation further explained, “…Although Section 4 `was undoubtedly inspired by the desire to put beyond question the obligations of the Government issued during the Civil War, its language indicates a broader connotation [that embraces] whatever concerns the integrity of the public obligations.’  Gold Clause Cases.”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 407.)

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