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University at Buffalo School of Law

Constitutional Law

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

The Slavery Of Emancipation, Guyora Binder Jan 1996

The Slavery Of Emancipation, Guyora Binder

Journal Articles

The Thirteenth Amendment abolishes the institution of slavery rather than freeing individual slaves. Yet it quickly came to stand for little more than granting universal rights to make labor contracts and to leave service. This article develops a distinction between abolishing an institution and reclassifying individuals within it. Drawing on the comparative history of slavery, it shows that the institution of slavery has generally included mechanisms for the manumission of slaves and their passage into a liminal status combining self-ownership with social subordination and relative isolation. A critical account of the Antelope litigation shows that proponents of mass manumission still ...