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Journal Articles

Slavery

University at Buffalo School of Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Slavery Of Emancipation, Guyora Binder May 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 …


Did The Slaves Author The Thirteenth Amendment? An Essay In Redemptive History, Guyora Binder Jan 1993

Did The Slaves Author The Thirteenth Amendment? An Essay In Redemptive History, Guyora Binder

Journal Articles

American constitutional interpretation is deeply traditionalist, and privileges original intent. The difficulty with thus authorizing the past in interpreting the Thirteenth Amendment is that it purports to abolish custom and tradition as unjust. This essay argues that, given the Amendment’s denunciation of the polity that enacted it as illegitimate, its questionable formal pedigree, and the agency of the slaves in precipitating, defining, and resolving the crisis that enabled it, the slaves have a moral claim to status as its authors. It follows that the original intent guiding interpretation should be that of the slaves themselves.


On Hegel, On Slavery, But Not On My Head!, Guyora Binder Feb 1990

On Hegel, On Slavery, But Not On My Head!, Guyora Binder

Journal Articles

This Article, a sequel to “Mastery, Slavery and Emancipation,” amplified its claims that slaves conceptualized freedom primarily in solidaristic terms as social and political participation, and recognition rather than as individual autonomy or economic opportunity. It replied to skeptical objections offered by Critical Race Theorist Kendall Thomas and offered a solidaristic reading of the autobiographies of Fredercik Douglass and Sellah Martin.


Mastery, Slavery, And Emancipation, Guyora Binder Mar 1989

Mastery, Slavery, And Emancipation, Guyora Binder

Journal Articles

Hegel's dialectic of master and slave in the Phenomenology of Mind portrays a master unable to win genuine recognition from a slave because unwilling to confer it. The dialectic implies that freedom has to be conceived as association based on mutual respect, rather than independence. This article offers a communitarian interpretation of emancipation inspired by Hegel's dialectic of master and slave. It proceeds from an account of slave society which, like Hegel's dialectic, equates slavery with the denial of social recognition. This account argues that the experience of slave society led both the masters and the slaves to conceive of …