A recent article attempts to provide an insight on how the United States Constitution and the Paris Peace Treaty continue to fuel racism in America. Racism is founded in the beliefs that one set of characteristics particular to an ethnicity are greater than another set of characteristics. The United States Constitution plays a minimized role in a culture that continues to fuel racism in America.
According to the article, The Real Reason Why America Still has A Race Relations Problem, the United States Constitution and the Paris Treaty are the main contributors that continue to fuel racism in America. The author surmises that race relations in the United States is controlled by the Paris Treaty of 1783 because it was an agreement between the United States and England as well as other European countries.
The Paris Treaty, which divides people by race, is still in effect. In it slaves were defined as property under the 7th Article, which states “All prisoners on Both sides shall be set at Liberty and his Britanic Majesty shall with all convenient speed, and without causing any Destruction or carrying away any Negroes or other Property of the American inhabitants.” Implying that Negroes were property placed an inferiority label on the African American race and also amounted to a forever inheritance of superiority to one race over another.
The author continues to solidify his argument by reminding readers of the impact of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. The preamble of “We the People” excludes Black Americans and Native Americans and any violation is a violation of the Paris Peace Treaty says the author.
Article Five of the Unites States Constitution provided limited slavery that was not in violation of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1783. Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be altered. According to Article Five, altering the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment or amendments and subsequent ratification. Amendments may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either—as determined by Congress—the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or State ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states. Additionally, Article V temporarily shielded certain clauses in Article I from being amended.
The author tactfully avoids the issue that the abolition of slavery is not a violation of the Paris Peace treaty of 1783 due to the process that evolved the thirteenth amendment.
The passage of the Thirteenth amendment was not without a fight. After the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” On April 8, 1864, the Senate passed an amendment to abolish slavery. After one unsuccessful vote and extensive legislative maneuvering by the Lincoln administration, the House voted down the amendment on January 31, 1865. Shortly thereafter, the amendment was ratified by nearly all Northern states, along with a sufficient number of border and “reconstructed” Southern states, to cause the thirteenth Amendment to be adopted before the end of the year.
The Thirteenth Amendment did not formally abolish slavery in the United States. The Thirteenth Amendment was used to strike down peonage and some race-based discrimination. The Thirteenth Amendment applies to the actions of private citizens, while the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments apply only to state actors.
The usage of the Paris Peace Treaty to continue to fuel racism in America is ludicrous. It is a culture of people who control the country and the United States Constitution only has provided a framework that has abolished slavery.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
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