Agreement on the Proportion by Which Slaves Count for Purpose of Representation

The Three-Fifths Compromise: Understanding the Agreement on the Proportion by which Slaves Count for the Purpose of Representation

The Three-Fifths Compromise was an agreement reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The compromise was aimed at resolving the issue of how slaves would be counted for representation in the House of Representatives and taxation purposes. This agreement determined that the proportional representation of slaves would be based on three-fifths of their total population.

The primary purpose of the Three-Fifths Compromise was to determine the number of representatives each state would have in the House of Representatives. The more inhabitants a state had, the more representatives it was entitled to. This system was referred to as the “Great Compromise” or the “Connecticut Compromise.” However, the question of how slaves would be counted for the purpose of representation caused a significant divide among the delegates, particularly between the Northern and Southern states.

Northern states argued that slaves should not be counted at all, as they had no right to vote and should not be included in the population count. Southern states, on the other hand, wanted to count slaves in full, as a way to increase their representation in Congress.

Finally, the Three-Fifths Compromise was proposed, which allowed for slaves to be counted as three-fifths of a person. This meant that every five slaves would be counted as three people for the purpose of representation and taxation. The compromise was eventually accepted by both Northern and Southern states, as it allowed them to move forward with the establishment of the new government.

The Three-Fifths Compromise was abolished with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States. Following this amendment, every person was counted as a full individual for purposes of representation.

In conclusion, the Three-Fifths Compromise was a necessary compromise that allowed for the establishment of the United States government. However, it is also a clear example of the deeply ingrained racism that plagued the nation at the time. While the compromise was eventually abolished, its legacy lives on as a reminder of the devastating impact of slavery and the persistent struggle for racial equality.

Comments are closed.