Colorado Vote To Abolish Slavery

Reopened October 2019 - includes archived threads from pre-2019

Colorado Vote To Abolish Slavery

Postby toucana on October 16th, 2018, 11:51 am 

Ummm - Didn’t they do that already, about 150 years ago ? You might well ask.

The answer is both yes and no. Colorado first became an independent territory in 1861 just as the Civil War was taking hold. The city of Colorado Springs was founded by General William Jackson Palmer who was a strong abolitionist. But Colorado didn’t become a state until 1876 when President Ulysses Grant signed proclamation 230 admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. It became known as the ‘Centennial State’ because it became a state exactly 100 years after the signing of the US Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The problem was that when Colorado drafted its new state constitution, like many other new states, it borrowed the text of the existing 13th Amendment from the Federal constitution (the amendment rapper Kanye West wants to abolish) which passed into law in 1865 and included a provision that was copied into the constitution of Colorado as follows:
Section 26 - Slavery prohibited. There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

The question of removing this qualification about “except as a punishment for crime” was first raised in a state ballot in the Colorado legislature in 2016, but attempts to remove the offending part of Section 26 were thwarted amidst concern over the possible impact of the change on the perceived legality of prisoner work programs in the Colorado state penitentiary system.

Two years later in 2018 Caitlin Trussel, a spokesperson of the ‘Together Colorado’ movement hopes a new ballot on the issue will succeed this time.
Last edited by toucana on October 16th, 2018, 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Colorado Vote To Abolish Slavery

Postby TheVat on October 16th, 2018, 12:05 pm 

The continued practice of slavery in the U.S. by means of the penal system has been well-documented. In the South especially, it was routine to convict African-Americans on trifling offenses, given them jail time, and put them on chain gangs. I think the chains have largely been phased out, but using prisoners for cheap labor is still going on. Some historians theorize that formerly harsh marijuana laws were first enacted when MJ use was predominantly in the black population - this created a new class of felony convictions for small infractions that allowed large scale incarceration of blacks, forced servitude, and disenfranchisement. Whatever the actual intent of those profiting from this system, it did succeed at giving some states good-sized labor pools for nasty jobs.
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