The Three-​​Fifths Compromise Was An Agreement That

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A con­tro­ver­sial issue at the Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion of 1787 was whether slaves were counted as part of the pop­u­la­tion when des­ig­nating state rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Con­gress or were instead con­sid­ered prop­erty and not con­sid­ered as such for rep­re­sen­ta­tion pur­poses. Del­e­gates from states with large slave pop­u­la­tions argued that slaves should be con­sid­ered per­sons in deter­mining rep­re­sen­ta­tion, but as prop­erty if the new gov­ern­ment col­lected taxes from states on a pop­u­la­tion basis. Del­e­gates from states where slavery has become rare argued that slaves should be included in tax­a­tion, but not in deter­mining rep­re­sen­ta­tion. At the Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia, the founders of the United States were cre­ating a Union. Del­e­gates agreed that the rep­re­sen­ta­tion each state received in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Elec­toral Col­lege would be based on pop­u­la­tion, but the issue of slavery was a sore point between the South and the North. The three-​​fifths clause was part of a series of com­pro­mises adopted by the Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion of 1787. The other most notable clauses pro­hib­ited slavery in the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries and ended U.S. par­tic­i­pa­tion in the inter­na­tional slave trade in 1807. These com­pro­mises reflected the remark of Vir­ginia Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion del­e­gate (and future U.S. Pres­i­dent) James Madison, that ” states were divided into dif­ferent inter­ests, not by them. Waist. but mainly because they have or do not have slaves. Sec­tion 2 of the Four­teenth Amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion (1868) then replaced Article 1, Sec­tion 2, Clause 3 and expressly annulled the compromise.

It pro­vides that “the rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be dis­trib­uted. count the total number of people in each state, with the excep­tion of untaxed Indians. A later pro­vi­sion of the same clause reduced rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Con­gress for states that denied adult males the right to vote, but this pro­vi­sion was never effec­tively enforced. [19] (The Thir­teenth Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment, passed in 1865, had already elim­i­nated almost all per­sons from the juris­dic­tion of the orig­inal clause by pro­hibiting slavery; the only remaining per­sons sub­ject to it were those sen­tenced to penal servi­tude for a crime, which pre­cluded the amend­ment of the pro­hi­bi­tion.) The three-​​fifths com­pro­mise was a com­pro­mise reached between state del­e­gates at the 1787 United States Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion. Del­e­gates argued over whether and how slaves would be counted in deter­mining a state‘s total pop­u­la­tion, as this figure would deter­mine a state‘s number of seats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and how much taxes it would pay. The com­pro­mise counted three out of five slaves as a people, giving the Southern states one-​​third more seats in Con­gress and one-​​third more votes than if slaves had been ignored, but less than if slaves and free men had been counted in the same way. The com­pro­mise was pro­posed by del­e­gate James Wilson and sec­onded by Charles Pinckney. [1]:143 In 1787, the founders attempted to create a Union and pre­serve the nascent United States. This imper­fect com­pro­mise allowed the preser­va­tion of the Republic, while con­fronting the moral and sys­temic evils of slavery. False and dis­torted inter­pre­ta­tions of the Con­sti­tu­tion only accen­tuate social divi­sion in America.

Although the three-​​fifths com­pro­mise and others on slavery helped main­tain the cohe­sion of this fragile new state union, many on both sides of the problem opposed it. James Madison and Edmund Ran­dolph of Vir­ginia used the phrase “co-​​payments” to say that slaves should be counted com­pletely, one for one, and rejected the com­pro­mise. When Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion Del­e­gate Roger Sherman of Con­necticut pro­posed that con­gres­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tion be based on the total number of people in a state, South Car­olina Del­e­gate Charles Pinckney agreed to say, “Blacks should be on an equal footing with whites.” Pinckney‘s tes­ti­mony was incor­rect, as he knew at the time that most blacks were enslaved in his state and that no one, slave or free, could vote or was con­sid­ered equiv­a­lent to white Southern Carolinians.…

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