Slavery and Abolition, 1831-1841

By Albert Bushnell Hart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
INTERSTATE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
OF SLAVERY
(1822-1842)

IN the debates of Congress the point of view of the south was that the power of the federal government over slavery was negative; the use of federal machinery was disclaimed. At the same time it was expected that through the clauses of the Constitution on interstate relations affirmative support should be given to slavery. "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts and judicial Proceedings of every other State"1--that is, statutebooks and judicial records are to be accepted as evidence of legal status and of legal proceedings, under the laws of the state issuing them; the state courts were to apply the laws and decisions of other states, as of foreign countries.

When part of the states swept away all their previous legislation on slavery, the degree of effect which either side would give to the law of the other became a disputed question. For instance, did the clause on "privileges and immunities of citizens"

____________________
1
Article IV., sec. i.

-276-

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