Debate over Slavery at the Constitutional Convention, August 21-22, 1787.
By the 1830s, slaveowners told opponents of slavery that the Constitution protected slavery, representatives from the slave states would never have signed it otherwise, and everyone at the Constitutional Convention knew it. This summary of the discussion of the international slave trade at that convention shows that they have a point. Some historians maintain that Southerners at the convention never really contemplated a separate nation. Indeed, the three South Carolina delegates who voice such threats in this extract supported a strong national government. Nevertheless, the belief that their threats were serious had become dogma by the 1850s. Thus this debate begins a pattern of threats by slaveowners that eventually resulted in secession.
As residents of the 21st century knowing what we do that the Civil War, a terrible calamity on the nation was to come, with a loss of life of 600,000 or more, which would percentage wise be equivalent to 6,000,000 to the population of today, how do we judge these deliberations? Are they working towards a compromise or engaging in self-serving rationalizations that the problem would go away on its own? In
judging, what criteria would you use?
Especially knowing that the Civil War would come, how prescient is Col. George Mason of Virginia when he says:
“Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven on a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.”
These deliberations are like a chorus in a classical Greek play opening our great national drama and so we start with this as our first entry.
From Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 5, pages 457-61. We have modified the text by giving each speaker’s name in full for easier understanding as well as indicating which state they are from.
Mr. Luther Martin [MD] proposed to vary article 7, sect. 4, so as to allow a prohibition or tax on the importation of slaves. In the first place, as five slaves are to be counted as three freemen, in the appointment of representatives, such a clause would leave an encouragement to this traffic. In the second place, slaves weakened one part of the Union, which the other parts were bound to protect; the privilege of importing them was therefore unreasonable. And, in the third place, it was inconsistent with the principles of the revolution, and dishonorable to the American character, to have such a feature in the Constitution.
Mr. John Rutledge [SC] did not see how the importation of slaves could be encouraged by this section. He was not apprehensive of insurrections, and would readily exempt the other states from the obligation to protect the Southern against them. Religion and humanity had nothing to do with this question. Interest alone is the governing principle with nations. The true question at present is, whether the Southern States shall or shall not be parties to the Union. If the Northern States consult their interest, they will not oppose the increase of slaves, which will increase the commodities of which they become the carriers.
Mr. Oliver Ellsworth [CT] was for leaving the clause as it stands. Let every state import what it pleases. The morality or wisdom of slavery are considerations belonging to the states themselves. What enriches a part enriches the whole, and the states are the best judges of their particular interest. The old Confederation had not meddled with this point; and he did not see any greater necessity for bringing it within the policy of the new one.
Mr. Charles Pinckney [SC]. South Carolina can never receive the plan if it prohibits the slave trade. In every proposed extension of the powers of Congress, that state has expressly and watchfully excepted that of meddling with the importation of negroes. If the states be all left at liberty on this subject, South Carolina may perhaps, by degrees, do of herself what is wished, as Virginia and Maryland already have done.
Mr. Roger Sherman [CT] was for leaving the clause as it stands. He disapproved of the slave trade; yet, as the states were now possessed of the right to import slaves, as the public good did not require it to be taken from them, and as it was expedient to have as few objections as possible to the proposed scheme of government, he thought it best to leave the matter as we find it. He observed, that the abolition of slavery seemed to be going on in the United States, and that the good sense of the several states would probably by degrees complete it. He urged on the Convention the necessity of despatching its business.
Col. George Mason [VA]. This infernal traffic originated in the avarice of British merchants. The British government constantly checked the attempts of Virginia to put a stop to it. The present question concerns not the importing states alone, but the whole Union. The evil of having slaves was experienced during the late war. Had slaves been treated as they might have been by the enemy, they would have proved dangerous instruments in their hands. But their folly dealt by the slaves as it did by the tories. He mentioned the dangerous insurrections of the slaves in Greece and Sicily; and the instructions given by Cromwell, to the commissioners sent to Virginia, to arm the servants and slaves, in case other means of obtaining its submission should fail. Maryland and Virginia, he said, had already prohibited the importation of slaves expressly. North Carolina had done the same in substance. All this would be in vain, if South Carolina and Georgia be at liberty to import. The western people are already calling out for slaves for their new lands, and will fill that country with slaves, if they can be got through South Carolina and Georgia. Slavery discourages arts and manufactures. The poor despise labor when performed by slaves. They prevent the emigration of whites, who really enrich and strengthen a county. They produce the most pernicious effect on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven on a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities. He lamented that some of our eastern brethren had, from a lust of gain, embarked in this nefarious traffic. As to the state being in possession of the right to import, this was the case with many other rights, now to be properly given up. He held it essential, in every point of view, that the general government should have power to prevent the increase of slavery.
Mr. Oliver Ellsworth [CT], as he had never owned a slave, could not judge the effects of slavery on character. He said, however, that if it was to be considered in a moral light, we ought to go further, and free those already in the country. As slaves also multiply so fast in Virginia and Maryland, that it is cheaper to raise them than import them, whilst in the sickly rice swamps foreign supplies are necessary, if we go no further than is urged, we shall be unjust towards South Carolina and Georgia. Let us not intermeddle. As population increases, poor laborers will be so plenty as to render slaves useless. Slavery, in time, will not be a speck in our country. Provision is already made in Connecticut for abolishing it. And the abolition has already taken place in Massachusetts. As to the danger of insurrections from foreign influence, that will become a motive to kind treatment of the slaves.
Mr. Charles Pinckney [SC]: If slavery be wrong, it is justified by the example of all the world. He cited the case of Greece, Rome and other ancient states; the sanction given by France, England, Holland, and other modern states. In all ages, one half of mankind have been slaves. If the Southern States were let alone, they will probably of themselves stop importations. He would himself, as a citizen of South Carolina, vote for it. An attempt to take away the right, as proposed, will produce serious objections to the Constitution, which he wished to see adopted.
Gen. Charles C. Pinckney [SC] declared it to be his firm opinion that if himself and all his colleagues were to sign the Constitution, and use their personal influence, it would be of no avail towards obtaining the assent of their constituents. South Carolina and Georgia cannot do without slaves. As to Virginia, she will gain by stopping the importations. Her slaves will rise in value, and she has more than she wants. It would be unequal to require South Carolina and Georgia to confederate on such unequal terms. He said, the royal assent, before the revolution, had never been refused to South Carolina, as to Virginia. He contended, that the importation of slaves would be for the interest of the whole Union. The more slaves, the more produce to employ the carrying trade; the more consumption also; and the more of this, the more revenue for the common treasury. He admitted it to be reasonable that slaves should be dutied like other imports; but should consider a rejection of the clause as an exclusion of South Carolina from the Union.
Mr. Abraham Baldwin [GA] had conceived national objects alone to be before the Convention; no such as, like the present, were of a local nature. Georgia was decided on this point. That state has always hitherto supposed a general government to be the pursuit of the central states, who wished to have vortex for everything; that her distance would preclude her from equal advantage; and that she could not prudently purchase it by yielding national powers. From this it might be understood in what light she would view an attempt to abridge one of her favorite prerogatives. If left to herself, she may probably put a stop to the evil. As one ground for this conjecture, he took notice of the sect of―, which, he said, was a respectable class of people, who carried their ethics beyond the mere equality of men, extending their humanity to the claims of the whole animal creation.
Mr. James Wilson [PA] observed that, if South Carolina and Georgia were themselves disposed to get rid of the importation of slaves in a short time, as had been suggested, they would never refuse to unite because the importation might be prohibited. As the section now stands, all articles imported are to be taxed. Slaves alone are exempt. This is, in fact, a bounty on that article.
Mr. Elbridge Gerry [MA] thought we had nothing to do with the conduct of the states as to slaves, but ought to be careful not to give any sanction to it.
Mr. John Dickinson [DE] considered it as inadmissible, on every principle of honor and safety, that the importation of slaves should be authorized to the states by the Constitution. The true question was, whether the national happiness would be promoted or impeded by the importation; and this question ought to be left to the national government, not to the states particularly interested. If England and France permit slavery, slaves are, at the same time, excluded from both those kingdoms. Greece and Rome were made unhappy by their slaves. He could not believe that the Southern States would refuse to confederate on the account apprehended; especially as the power was not likely to be immediately exercised by the general government.
Mr. H. Williamson [NC] stated the law of North Carolina on the subject, to wit, that it did not directly prohibit the importation of slaves. It imposed a duty of £5 on each slave imported from Africa; £10 on each from elsewhere; and £50 on each from a state licensing manumission. He thought the Southern States could not be members of the Union, if the clause be rejected; and that is was wrong to force anything down not absolutely necessary and which any state must disagree to.
Mr. Rufus King [MA] thought the subject should be considered in a political light only. If two states will not agree to the Constitution, as stated on one side, he could affirm with equal belief, on the other, that great and equal opposition would be experienced from the other states. He remarked on the exemption of slaves from duty, whilst every other import was subjected to it, as an inequality that could not fail to strike the commercial sagacity of the Northern and Middle States.
Mr. John Langon [NH] was strenuous for giving the power to the general government. He could not, with a good conscience, leave it with the states, who could then go on with the traffic, without being restrained by the opinions here given, that they will themselves cease to import slaves.
Gen. Charles C. Pinckney [SC] thought himself bound to declare candidly, that he did not think South Carolina would stop her importations of slaves in any short time; but only stop them occasionally, as she now does. He moved to commit the clause, that slaves might be made liable to an equal tax with other imports; which he thought right, and which would remove one difficulty that had been started.
Mr. John Rutledge [SC]. If the Convention thinks that North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, will ever agree to the plan, unless their right to import slaves be untouched, the expectation is vain. The people of those states will never be such fools as to give up so important an interest. He was strenuous against striking out the section, and seconded the motion of Gen. Pinckney for a commitment.
Mr. Gouverneur Morris [PA] wished the whole subject to be committed, including the clauses relating to taxes on exports and a navigation act. These things may form a bargain among the Northern and Southern States.
Mr. Pierce Butler [SC] declared, that he never would agree to the power of taxing exports.
Mr. Roger Sherman [CT] said it was better to let the Southern States import slaves than to part with them, if they made that a sine qua non. He was opposed to a tax on slaves imported, as making the matter worse, because it implied they were property. He acknowledged that, if the power of prohibiting the importation to the general government, it would be exercised. He thought it would be its duty to exercise the power.
Mr. George Read [DE] was for the commitment, provided the clause concerning taxes on exports should also be committed.
Mr. Roger Sherman [CT] observed, that the clause had been agreed to, and therefore could not be committed.
Mr. Edmund Randolph [VA] was for committing, in order that some middle ground might, if possible, be found. He could never agree to the clause as it stands. He would sooner risk the Constitution. He dwelt on the dilemma to which the Convention was exposed. By agreeing to the clause, it would revolt the Quakers, the Methodist, and many others in the states having no slaves. On the other hand, two states might be lost to the Union. Let us then, he said, try the chance of a commitment.
On the question for committing the remaining part of sections 4 and 5 of article 7, ―Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 7; New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Delaware, no, 3; Massachusetts, absent.
Constitutional Topic: Slavery
The Constitutional Topics pages at the USConstitution.net site are presented to delve deeper into topics than can be provided on the Glossary Page or in the FAQ pages. This Topic Page concerns Slavery. Slavery is mentioned in two main places in the Constitution; in Article 1, Section 2 Clause 3, and the 13th Amendment. Also see the Not in the Constitution entry.
Primary source material for this essay include The Origins of American Slavery by Betty Wood (Hill and Wang, New York, 1997), Jim Crow Guide - The Way It Was by Stetson Kennedy (Florida Atlantic University Press, Boca Raton, 1990), and The History of Jim Crow. Population figures from census data were found at The University of Virginia. Quotes from the Founding Fathers concerning slavery were taken from FoundingFathers.info. George Washington's will can be found at The University of Virginia.
Slavery is a prominent part of United States history. Slavery has existed for thousands of years in many cultures, but in the United States, the institution seemed to have been perfected. It also came at a time of enlightenment, when many began to see slavery not as the necessity that many felt it was, but as an evil exploitation of men.
From the time that Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World, slaves were as much a part of the settlement and economy as the settlers and the crops. But this was the normal state of affairs for much of the Western world. The African slave trade, which started in the 15th century, was begun by the Portuguese, but slavery among African tribes was common, as it was among the Native Americans that Columbus encountered in Hispaniola. The biggest difference between native slavery and the slavery brought by Europeans to Africa and the Caribbean was the scope and scale.
Going further back, ancient Rome is said to have been more dependent upon its slave labor than any society before or since. Some estimates place the slave population in Rome in the 1st century to be about a third. Slaves came mostly from conquered peoples. To a lesser degree, the children of slaves were also slaves. Kidnapping and piracy, as well as cross-culture purchase are also seen as likely sources. Finally, self-sale, slavery for debt, and slavery as punishment for crimes were also in place.
Lastly, as was often mentioned by American supporters of slavery, slavery is mentioned in the Bible. Therein, while it is not encouraged, it is acknowledged, and it is regulated.
Slavery, then, has a long, if ugly, history. In 21st century America, it is easy for us to look at our past and be disappointed, even disgusted, by slavery. In fact, it is right to do so. However, it must be understood in the historical context
The Origin of Slavery
When examining the American slave trade, a "why" must first be determined. Why were the slaves brought from Africa, and not from, say, the Caribbean or South America? There are two schools of thought on this topic. The first is purely racial - that the color of skin of the African made him a target for the European traders. The other is that race had little to do with the beginning of the trade, but that pure economics dictated the source. Race, when it eventually did become a factor, came afterwards.
Initial colonization of the New World by England came in the Caribbean, such as on St. Kitts, and in Virginia. The primary concern of the English in the use of these lands was as a source of income. Tobacco was discovered and became wildly popular, and its cultivation became a priority. Tobacco agriculture requires lots and lots of land, and, in turn, lots of labor to work the land. The first workers were recruited servants from England itself. Lured by the promise of land at the end of their term of service, many indentured servants came. In the islands of the Caribbean, however, land was not limitless, as it seemed to be in Virginia to the north.
Settlers branched out from one island colony to another, with some inhabitants and workers moving from other islands and some coming from Britain. Similar colonization was happening with the French, whose laws did not permit indentured servitude to fill labor needs. The Dutch slave traders stepped in with a ready source - enslaved Africans. The English were quick to adopt this model for labor, and by the 1650s, the source of labor had switched from voluntary to involuntary. On Barbados, where tobacco failed as a crop, but where sugar cane and cotton grew well. Based on the Portuguese model in Brazil, Africans were brought in to work the crops such that by 1660, the slave-to-free ratio was about 50-50.
The Africans were slaves in fact and, eventually, in law. They did not have an end to their term of service as indentured servants did. There was no loss in profit when a number of years ran out. In addition, the wage levels for indentured servants had a strong upturn in the 1640s. The economics of slavery were obvious to the plantation owners.
This plays into slavery into America because by the mid-1660s, proprietors of the North American lands, from Virginia on south, were looking to profit from their lands just as had been done in the Caribbean. They wanted to attract settlers from England, but more so, they wanted to attract settlers from the Caribbean, who had already worked successful crops and were used to the climate. Certainly, they promoted the religious freedoms of the colonies, and the extension of English rights and liberties, but they also guaranteed property rights. And by this time, African slaves were property. As planters moved from Barbados to the Carolinas, they brought their slaves with them.
In Virginia, in the meantime, the cultivation of tobacco became of paramount importance. Over objections of the King to smoking, and over warnings concerning single-crop agriculture, the lure of profit fixated the settlers. Once they were able to take all the land they wished from the native Indian tribes, they were left with vast amounts of land to work. Indians proved too scattered and resistant to enslave in large numbers. Indentured servants were brought over from England, and they formed the backbone of Virginia labor until the 1680s. The thinking is that indentured servitude continued to be the more profitable way of acquiring labor - an African slave was simply more expensive. Some of the same forces that influenced the shift to African labor in the Caribbean came to Virginia. Though it came later, by 1710 the slavery system was so firmly established that it was a fully developed area of the law.
In 17th century Massachusetts, slavery was much less an important part of the economic structure, but it was, nonetheless, an important part of the social structure. The Puritans saw slavery as authorized by the Bible, and a natural part of society. However, the Puritans were also governed by a code of biblical conduct whereby slaves had some rights, and whereby the masters were presumed to be responsible not only for a slave's physical but also spiritual well-being. These factors made the life of a slave only slightly less onerous that those in Southern states. But the form of agriculture used in Massachusetts is probably more responsible for the relative lack of slaves in the North. Small farms, not large plantations, were the norm, and it was common to find the farmer working the fields alongside slaves. The tide would eventually turn, however, and by the time of the Constitutional Convention, Massachusetts had outlawed slavery.
The Founding Fathers and the Constitution
By the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, slavery in the United States was a grim reality. In the census of 1790, there were slaves counted in nearly every state, with only Massachusetts and the "districts" of Vermont and Maine, being the only exceptions. In the entire country 3.8 million people were counted, 700,000 of them, or 18 percent, were slaves. In South Carolina, 43 percent of the population was slave. In Maryland 32 percent, and in North Carolina 26 percent. Virginia, with the largest slave population of almost 300,000, had 39 percent of its population made up of slaves.
In the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution, there is not mention of slavery. The states were represented in Congress by state, with each state picking its own representatives, so population, which became critical in the future House of Representatives, was not relevant. Also, because fugitive slaves, and the abolition movement, were almost unheard of as late as the 1780s, there is no mention of this issue in the Articles. The closest thing to be found is the Fugitive Clause in Article 4, but even that is more geared toward convicts.
There was no great movement in America to abolish slavery in the 1780's, when the Constitutional Convention met. To be sure, there were opponents of slavery, on a philosophical level, but the abolition movement did not appear until the 1830's, when the American Anti-Slavery Society was founded with William Lloyd Garrison writing the organization's nascent statement of principles. Prior to the Convention in 1787, many "Founding Fathers" expressed opinions that condemned slavery.
John Jay, great supporter of the Constitution after its creation and an author of The Federalist wrote in 1786, "It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused."
Oliver Ellsworth, one of the signers of the Constitution wrote, a few months after the Convention adjourned, "All good men wish the entire abolition of slavery, as soon as it can take place with safety to the public, and for the lasting good of the present wretched race of slaves."
Patrick Henry, the great Virginian patriot, refused to attend the Convention because he "smelt a rat," was outspoken on the issue, despite his citizenship in a slave state. In 1773, he wrote, "I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we do is to improve it, if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot and an abhorrence of slavery."
Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, which, famously, declares that "all men are created equal," wrote, "There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him." Alas, like many Southerners, Jefferson held slaves, as many as 223 at some points in his life. His family sold his slaves after his death, in an effort to relieve the debt he left his estate in.
In a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington wrote, "[Y]our late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view to emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country; but I despair of seeing it." Washington and his wife held over 300 slaves. He wrote in his will that he'd wished to free his slaves, but that because of intermarriage between his and Martha's slaves, he feared the break-up of families should only his slaves be freed. He directed that his slaves be freed upon her death. His will provided for the continued care of all slaves, paid for from his estate.
The great American scientist and publisher Benjamin Franklin held several slaves during his lifetime. He willed one of them be freed upon his death, but Franklin outlived him. In 1789, he said, "Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils."
Other examples of anti-slavery messages abound from the late 1700's. They illustrate the feelings of some, but those feelings cannot be seen in the product of their works at creating a government. Despite the freedoms demanded in the Declaration and the freedoms reserved in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, slavery was not only tolerated in the Constitution, but it was codified.
The Constitution has often been called a living tribute to the art of compromise. In the slavery question, this can be seen most clearly. The Convention had representatives from every corner of the United States, including, of course, the South, where slavery was most pronounced. Slavery, in fact, was the backbone of the primary industry of the South, and it was accepted as a given that agriculture in the South without slave labor was not possible. Though slaves were not cheap by any measure, they were cheaper than hiring someone to do the same work. The cultivation of rice, cotton, and tobacco required slaves to work the fields from dawn to dusk. If the nation did not guarantee the continuation of slavery to the South, it was questioned whether they would form their own nation.
Slavery is seen in the Constitution in a few key places. The first is in the Enumeration Clause, where representatives are apportioned. Each state is given a number of representatives based on its population - in that population, slaves, called "other persons," are counted as three-fifths of a whole person. This compromise was hard-fought, with Northerners wishing that slaves, legally property, be uncounted, much as mules and horses are uncounted. Southerners, however, well aware of the high proportion of slaves to the total population in their states, wanted them counted as whole persons despite their legal status. The three-fifths number was a ratio used by the Congress in contemporary legislation and was agreed upon with little debate.
In Article 1, Section 9, Congress is limited, expressly, from prohibiting the "Importation" of slaves, before 1808. The slave trade was a bone of contention for many, with some who supported slavery abhorring the slave trade. The 1808 date, a compromise of 20 years, allowed the slave trade to continue, but placed a date-certain on its survival. Congress eventually passed a law outlawing the slave trade that became effective on January 1, 1808.
The Fugitive Slave Clause is the last mention. In it, a problem that slave states had with extradition of escaped slaves was resolved. The laws of one state, the clause says, cannot excuse a person from "Service or Labour" in another state. The clause expressly requires that the state in which an escapee is found deliver the slave to the state he escaped from "on Claim of the Party."
It has been said that the seeds of the Civil War, which was fought, despite revisionist theory to the contrary, over the issue of slavery, were sown in the compromises of the Constitution on the issue. This is probably true. Slavery, which was started in violence in the kidnapping, shipment, and commerce of human chattel, needed violence to bring it to an end. After the devastation of the Revolutionary War and the unrest in the U.S. under the Articles, a time of peace and recovery was needed to strengthen the nation to a point where it could survive a civil war. The greatest tragedy is that in the nearly 100 years between the start of the Revolutionary War and the end of the Civil War, millions of slaves served, suffered, and died so that the nation could prosper.
With the demise of the institution of slavery, it was the hope of many that blacks would quickly rise in their citizen status. However, there were several problems with this hope. The first was the bitterness the South felt about the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and the Radical Republicans. The second was basic prejudice. For centuries, most blacks had been relegated to a sub-human status, and that feeling, even among many Northerners, was not going to go away with slavery. Once the Southern states regained control of their own governments again, following Reconstruction, the Black Codes were quickly enacted.
The 14th and 15th Amendments were actually national reactions to Black Codes enacted in the South just after the Civil War. Legally, constitutionally, blacks were equal. Many of the Black Code provisions were illegal under the new amendments, and black voters, and even legislators, gained power in the immediate aftermath. But to counter the freedoms gained, eventually new Black Codes were enacted, most of which aimed to deny blacks the vote by means that did not rely on race on their face, but which relied on race at their root. Organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan also rose, intimidating black voters from exercising their new suffrage rights. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and other tactics, both legal and extra-legal, were used to deny blacks the vote. With no voice in the government, the rate of black voters, and any sign of black legislators, quickly disappeared.
Following the Plessy v Ferguson decision in 1896, where the Supreme Court ruled that while blacks had equal right under the law, but that separation of the races was legal as long as facilities were equal, throughout the South, and elsewhere, more laws were enacted to keep blacks on one side and whites on the other. These laws, known as Jim Crow laws, affected every aspect of the lives of blacks.