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Bonds of CitizenshipLaw and the Labors of Emancipation$
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Hoang Gia Phan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814738474

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814738474.001.0001

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Fugitive Bonds

Fugitive Bonds

Contract and the Culture of Constitutionalism

(p.107) 3 Fugitive Bonds
Bonds of Citizenship

Hoang Gia Phan

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the reconfigurations of race, labor, and national citizenship during the Union crisis. Specifically, it discusses Frederick Douglass's shift from the Garrisonian position—which read the Constitution as a proslavery document—to the political-abolitionist position as seen in his writings. His remarks on the Constitution—that it is fully opposed “in letter and spirit” to slavery—elaborated the trope of “a man from another country,” the figure for a legal hermeneutic whose perspective locates constitutional “intention” exclusively in the letter of the law. The remainder of the chapter traces the slavery debates in relation to transformations in contract and labor law that began with the antebellum market revolution.

Keywords:   national citizenship, Union crisis, legal hermeneutic, slavery debates, antebellum market revolution

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