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Constitution Monday: Extradition

Note: Throughout this series, items that are hyperlinked were in the Constitution as written in 1787 but have since been amended or superseded.

Article IV of the Constitution of the United States deals with relations between the States and regulates the creation of new states.  Here is Article IV, Section II:

Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

At the time of the Constitution’s writing, some states prohibited slavery while others allowed it. The hyperlinked third paragraph was a concession to the slaveholding states that slaves who fled into free states would not automatically gain their freedom. This provision was rendered inoperative by the 13th Amendment.

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