Intergenerational Justice in the United States Constitution,
The Stewardship Doctrine:
III. Constitutional Text

C Corruption of Blood, Slavery, and Equal Protection- 13th Amendment

Prior to enactment of the 13th Amendment, slaveholders possessed valuable, legally recognized private property rights in other human beings. Upon passage of the Amendment, they had these rights taken from them. Despite the Fifth Amendment's provision that "private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation,"f269 the slave holders were not reimbursed for their loss of property. Why should this be so? After all, the 13th Amendment nowhere expressly limited the 5th Amendment's application. The answer is self-evident. The slaveholders were not compensated for the simple reason that their alleged property rights were recognized as fundamentally illegitimate. Previous, 'authoritative' acknowledgements of the alleged property rights were likewise fundamentally illegitimate. No government ever had the authority to grant one human being an ownership interest in another human being, much less the authority to grant a perpetual right of ownership in the descendants of another human being. Any government which purported to grant, recognize, or protect such a right acted illegitimately. When the government or society of one generation exceeded its authority in such a manner, its illegitimate actions had no power to bind or oblige later governments or generations, even to the extent of necessitating takings compensation. f270

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