Between the 1640s and the 1860s, an extensive body of laws was developed in the United States to regulate the institutions of slavery. The earliest codes were Virginia's, passed in 1705. Slave codes were laws enacted in each U.S. state that defined the relationship between slaves and slave owners. These laws codified the permanency of slavery, inherited through the mother, denying slaves all basic rights—citizenship, education, legal marriages, property assembly, and associating with each other. With the explosion of the slave trade between the ...

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