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View Diary: Cuccinelli's running mate defended three-fifths clause as 'anti-slavery' (91 comments)

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  •  3/5 Compromise frequently mis-understood (7+ / 0-)

    Slavery proponents wanted slaves to be fully counted in setting the number of members a state had in the House and in the Electoral College used in electing presidents.  Slavery opponents did not want slaves to be counted at all.

    The issue was political power, not a statement on what the worth of a slave was relative to a free person.  Keep in mind slavery proponents wanted slaves to be counted as 100% of a free person while slavery proponents wanted 0%.

    If slaves were counted the same as free persons, the slave states would have had far greater power than they already had with the 3/5th compromise.

    From Wikipedia

    The three-fifths ratio, or "Federal ratio", had a major effect on pre-Civil War political affairs due to the disproportionate representation of slaveholding states relative to voters. For example, in 1793 slave states would have been apportioned 33 seats in the House of Representatives had the seats been assigned based on the free population; instead they were apportioned 47. In 1812, slaveholding states had 76 instead of the 59 they would have had; in 1833, 98 instead of 73. As a result, southerners dominated the Presidency, the Speakership of the House, and the Supreme Court in the period prior to the Civil War.[8]

    Historian Garry Wills has postulated that without the additional slave state votes, Jefferson would have lost the presidential election of 1800. Also, "...slavery would have been excluded from Missouri...Jackson's Indian removal policy would have failed...the Wilmot Proviso would have banned slavery in territories won from Mexico....the Kansas-Nebraska bill would have failed...."[8] However, other historians have criticized Wills' analysis as simplistic.[9] For example, while the Three-Fifths Compromise could be seen to favor Southern states (which generally had larger slave populations), the Connecticut compromise tended to favor the Northern states (which were generally smaller). Support for the new Constitution rested on the balance of these sectional interests.[10]

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Wed May 22, 2013 at 10:39:16 AM PDT

    •  The 3/5ths debate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      demjim, ChadmanFL

      was not only about political power.  It was also about a philosophical question about personhood.  The anti-slavery members of the constitutional convention challenged the Southern position based on the fundamental notion of slavery:  as property, slaves were denied personhood.  The South, insisting on greater legislative and electoral representation in order to prevent the majority from outlawing slavery, was forced into making the nonsensical argument of counting slaves for purposes of representational proportion, but not counting them in any other way.  

      The 3/5ths compromise was the only way to achieve approval of the constitution, both in the convention and in ratification by the states.  Sort of like Pat Leahy withdrawing his amendment that same sex spouses be recognized in the immigration bill in the Senate committee.  That amendment would have doomed the bill in committee, and perhaps beyond, so it was withdrawn.  Once again, southern conservatives play politics with the status of rights.

      •  The philosophical question counted for little (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davidinmaine

        as the raw political power dominated the decision combined with the desire to have a common government across slave and non-slave states.

        Also keep in mind that in the late 1700s, slavery and serfdom was normal in the countries that most people lived in.  Slavery was far from a uniquely American experience at that time.

        With the exception of Massachusetts,  the "free states" at the time of creating the Constitution actually had slaves, as they ended slavery by not allowing the children of slaves to become slaves and blocking the importation of slaves but did not free existing slaves.  For example, New York did not end all slavery until 1828.

        Plato's Republic and Milton's Utopia visions of ideal societies even had slaves.

        I recommend reading Wikipedia's Abolition of slavery timeline

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Wed May 22, 2013 at 11:52:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Race-based slavery was uniquely American (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heftysmurf
          Also keep in mind that in the late 1700s, slavery and serfdom was normal in the countries that most people lived in.  Slavery was far from a uniquely American experience at that time.
          Elsewhere, serfs were people without land, and slaves were usually prisoners of war. Unlike in this country, it was impossible to distinguish masters and servants simply by the color of their skin.

          261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

          by MaikeH on Wed May 22, 2013 at 01:02:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The History of Slavery does not support your claim (0+ / 0-)

            see http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            Consider Arab slave trade in Africans and Europeans.
            Consider Japan enslaving Koreans.
            Consider Brazil and African slaves.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Wed May 22, 2013 at 01:23:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Race-based" = uniquely American??? (0+ / 0-)

            I think you have a major typo in your subject line, or I'm horridly misreading it.

            Race-based slavery was a uniquely WESTERN phenomenon - if you want to say that, that would be a defensible claim.

            Race-based slavery as a uniquely "American" phenomenon has to be a typo, b/c it is otherwise outlandishly wrong.

            Considering that the first African slaves were sold into North America in 1619, and the Virginia colony's House of Burgesses was already legislating racial restrictions on African slaves in the 1670s, and mandating the restriction of rights by color one hundred years before the Declaration, it must be a typo.

            They were British, at the time, if nothing else. Even that though also assumes that the slaves the Dutch ship in 1619 was carrying was specifically intending to come to the British North American colonies - which it was not. It had been bound for the Caribbean, where an even more massive slave-plantation society flourished.

            So how this can be a uniquely "American" affliction is entirely intriguing, considering that there would be no "America" for another 100 years.

            "You know, the only trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they're too damn greedy." - Herbert Hoover (Republican)

            by abdguyBOS on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:21:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I should rephrase (0+ / 0-)

              While Europeans were of course heavily involved in the slave trade, the slaves were sold in the so-called "New World," not in Europe.

              European people not involved in seafaring, slave trade, or colonialism could spend an entire lifetime without ever seeing people looking different from themselves.

              261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

              by MaikeH on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:11:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I meant "the Americas" (0+ / 0-)

              not the USA.

              261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

              by MaikeH on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:28:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  (and apologies) (0+ / 0-)

                Got it. I did genuinely believe it was a typo, even if the tone didn't convey it. Sorry if it came across as asshole-ish. Too many terrible undergraduate papers.

                "You know, the only trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they're too damn greedy." - Herbert Hoover (Republican)

                by abdguyBOS on Fri May 24, 2013 at 02:48:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  your bolded section restated (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChadmanFL, nextstep
      Keep in mind slavery proponents wanted slaves to be counted as 100% of a free person while slavery opponents wanted 0%.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Wed May 22, 2013 at 11:05:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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