The United States’ Constitution, while it may not explicitly discuss race in detail, has echoes of race throughout both its language and its history. Even during the origination of the Constitution, the inclusion of slavery was a hotly contested subject among the authors of the Constitution. The United States’ Constitution only uses the words “race” and “color” once and that is in the Fifteenth Amendment, which essentially gave black Americans the right to vote. While the US Constitution may not explicitly talk about race much, I argue that race is a present theme throughout the Constitution as well as behind many decisions regarding the language of the Constitution. While the Fifteenth Amendment may directly address the issue of race and voting rights within the United States, I believe that the history of the Fifteenth Amendment and its subsequent implementation and tests in the Supreme Court need to be further examined to truly understand the context of the Fifteenth Amendment in American society. The Fifteenth Amendment, while being a moral statement and a push in the right direction, was toothless in its implementation when the federal government usurped their own ability to enforce the amendment in states that were more hostile to its implementation. Not only do the explicit mentions of race within the Constitution need to be examined, but so do the amendments and the context of the Constitution’s authorship that are most relevant to the issue of race and slavery within academia today.
Clements, Austin, "What Happens in Vagueness Stays in Vagueness: The United States Constitution's Ideas on Race" (2018). History Class Publications. 69.