US Constitution itself never actually uses the word "slavery". It appears that, even in 1787, the issue of slavery was so controversial ... I was aware of the absence of the word 'slavery' but never knew why.
Serfdom never existed in America. The difference between serfs and slaves is the difference between immovable and moveable property. European serfs were, in the eyes of the law, like trees or buildings. Serfs could not be separated from the land they were born on. American slaves were always called chattels - moveable property... In America, slaves had no rights at all. Slave marriages were not recognized. Slaves owned no property. Slaves could not testify in court. The owner of a slave could kill his slave if he wanted to.
- Interesting article, but I was only comparing slavery with serfdom... I never dug so deep as to examine the nature of property rights. The difference between property rights and ownership are highly technical. Only legal scholars would notice the difference.