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Did the U.S. Constitution Ever Permit Inhumane Treatment of Slaves?

In 12 Years a Slave, Edwin Epps refers to American law when he tells Bass (a white man who opposes slavery) that he doesn't know “more than the constitution.”  

Is Epps right that, at the time, the U.S. Constitution allowed slaves to be treated in numerous inhumane ways? Explain your answer.

What can be done if the highest law in a country condones immoral treatment of human beings?


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