The Christian Science Monitor

'The War Before the War' chronicles the role fugitive slaves played in widening gap between North and South

Americans pledge allegiance to “one Nation under God … with liberty and justice for all.” But for the first 89 years of its existence, America consisted of two distinct nations: one slave and one free. The halves were cobbled together by the United States Constitution, which, interestingly enough, did not contain the words slave or slavery until it was amended after the Civil War.

Rather than using such stark terms, the founding document’s fugitive slave clause euphemistically proclaimed “No person held to service or

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