In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
In my post Of Emmitt, Katrina, and Muhammad, I wrote:
“The fact that blacks were considered 2/5 of a human person in the original Constitution was a national abomination, yet it did not prevent this country from having to go to war with itself to finally emancipate the slaves.”
The spirit of the passage stands, namely, that the presence of African slaves on this country’s soil was a national abomination. It should never have been the case. Still, I got some of the facts wrong, as was brought to my attention by one of my readers. After doing some research, I learned that slaves were considered 3/5 (not 2/5) of a person, not out of racial disdain (although this is evident by the very fact that they were enslaved in the first place), but as a result of a compromise between Northern and Southern states when the Constitution was being drafted.
According to the website of the Constitutional Rights Foundation:
“A dispute arose over the legislative branch. States with large populations wanted representation in both houses of the legislature to be based on population. States with small populations wanted each state to have the same number of representatives, like under the Articles of Confederation. This argument carried on for two months. In the end, the delegates agreed to the “Great Compromise.” One branch, the House of Representatives, would be based on population. The other, the Senate, would have two members from each state.
Part of this compromise included an issue that split the convention on North-South lines. The issue was: Should slaves count as part of the population? Under the proposed Constitution, population would ultimately determine three matters:
(1) How many members each state would have in the House of Representatives.
(2) How many electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections.
(3) The amount each state would pay in direct taxes to the federal government.
Only the Southern states had large numbers of slaves. Counting them as part of the population would greatly increase the South’s political power, but it would also mean paying higher taxes. This was a price the Southern states were willing to pay. They argued in favor of counting slaves. Northern states disagreed. The delegates compromised. Each slave would count as three-fifths of a person.”
So, I stand corrected, and I am very grateful to the reader for pointing out my mistake to me. I learned something new, and that is the most important outcome. Thanks be to the Lord God, Most Holy Be His Name.