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2007

BLR

Conflict of Laws

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Paying Eliza: Comity, Contracts, And Critical Race Theory, Or 19th Century Choice Of Law Doctrine And The Validation Of Antebellum Contracts For The Purchase And Sale Of Human Beings, Diane J. Klein Feb 2007

Paying Eliza: Comity, Contracts, And Critical Race Theory, Or 19th Century Choice Of Law Doctrine And The Validation Of Antebellum Contracts For The Purchase And Sale Of Human Beings, Diane J. Klein

ExpressO

During the period before the Civil War, courts in non-slave-holding states were sometimes called upon to enforce contracts for the purchase and sale of human beings (or contracts whose consideration otherwise consisted of human beings), and sometimes did so, for reasons arguably having more to do with inter-state contract law than with the “peculiar institution” itself. What may be more surprising, and more difficult to understand, is that some “Union” courts went on doing so even after the Civil War ended, when substantive changes of law, together with well-established exceptions to general principles favoring out-of-state contract enforcement, made the contrary ...