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thetom

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#1 | Posted by Zed
"Blacks count as three fourths of a person or one half?"
#2 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis
"Why give them more than their due?"

I may be off-base, but I look at this completely differently. It's not about giving blacks their due, it's about beefing up population totals to have more representation.

The reason we have a census (which is what this issue is about) is to determine how many representatives a state has in Congress. This is the key.

It wasn't blacks that were counted as three fifths of a person, it was slaves. Granted, the vast majority of slaves were black, and the majority of blacks were slaves, but again, it's not about counting black people. It's about adding to the state census count, by being able to count 60 percent of a state's slave population toward the state's total population, so as to qualify for more seats in Congress.

This was actually a boon for southern states, as it gave them more representation. One could argue that, since slaves were mere property, they shouldn't have been counted at all, in the same way you wouldn't count Farmer Bill's 600 head of cattle.

This was also a time when "state" mattered more than "nation", and a slave state would naturally prefer to count ALL slaves, not just 60%, in their state census. The compromise was, "Alright, you can count 60% of them".

Advantage: Slave states.

We see the three-fifths compromise as insulting to blacks, to slaves, but it wasn't about that at all. That they were counted to begin with wasn't about respect, or seeing them as actual people, but about adding to a state's number of representatives.

There are doubtless some here with a better grasp of the legal history than I, and perhaps they can add to or modify what I've said.

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