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Date & Time

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
6:00 PM

Location

Seminary Co-op Bookstore

Admission

Free and open to the public

More Information

https://www.facebook.com/events/780488158962688/

Contact

Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381
events@semcoop.com

Description

Sean Wilentz discusses No Property in Man: Slavery and AntiSlavery at the Nation's Founding. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

About the book: Americans revere the Constitution even as they argue fiercely over its original toleration of slavery. Some historians have charged that slaveholders actually enshrined human bondage at the nation’s founding. The acclaimed political historian Sean Wilentz shares the dismay but sees the Constitution and slavery differently. Although the proslavery side won important concessions, he asserts, antislavery impulses also influenced the framers’ work. Far from covering up a crime against humanity, the Constitution restricted slavery’s legitimacy under the new national government. In time, that limitation would open the way for the creation of an antislavery politics that led to Southern secession, the Civil War, and Emancipation. Wilentz’s controversial and timely reconsideration upends orthodox views of the Constitution. He describes the document as a tortured paradox that abided slavery without legitimizing it. This paradox lay behind the great political battles that fractured the nation over the next seventy years. As Southern Fire-eaters invented a proslavery version of the Constitution, antislavery advocates, including Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, proclaimed antislavery versions based on the framers’ refusal to validate what they called “property in man.” "No Property in Man" invites fresh debate about the political and legal struggles over slavery that began during the Revolution and concluded with the Confederacy’s defeat. It drives straight to the heart of the most contentious and enduring issue in all of American history.

About the author: Sean Wilentz is George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University. He is the author of numerous books on American history and politics, including "The Rise of American Democracy," which won the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and The Politicians and the Egalitarians, chosen as Best History Book of the Year by Kirkus and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wilentz’s writings on American music have earned him two Grammy nominations and two Deems-Taylor-ASCAP awards.