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View Diary: What Would James Madison Do (WWJMD)? Would the Framers Support the Occupy Wall Street Movement? (112 comments)

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  •  now you are playing games (0+ / 0-)

    slaves could not vote, but they could be counted towards representation in congress....hmmmm I wonder what section of the country and who benefits from that arrangement.

    it only took a civil war to sort it out.

    you are really playing with confederate money on this issue. we can have a serious conversation, and should certainly more often, about the constitution as a compromise of realpolitik. it should not be deified. we certainly shouldn't pretend it is something, i.e. race neutral, when it clearly was not.

    •  No not games (0+ / 0-)

      First of all - the 3/5ths language came explicitly from taxation apportionment schemes under the Articles of Confederation.

      The Constitution merely tied representation to taxation.  So it has nothing to do with the right to vote.

      And the Constitution did not establish who had or did not have the right to vote (that pretty much negates your argument by the way).

      And you continue to falsely equate the 3/5ths with "slaves."  It was not a reference to slaves (alone).  The proper focus should be on "free men" - which you commonly mistake with most people as being the definition of a non-slave (and so everyone that is not a "free man" is a slave).  The 3/5ths category was not exclusively slaves - and all non-slaves were not "free men."

      And the concept of "free men" was established in English common law long before the colonies and long before the institution of slavery.

      •  sloppy scholarship and dishonest too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sinan

        this is tiresome. you want to be a "scholar" be transparent. what are your motivations behind denying these simple facts? what is your deeper game and investment?

        a 1 second google search could help you--I don't want to get up and go to my library as this is so foundational and basic.

        from the well regarded digital history project:

        The Constitution was a document based upon compromise: between larger and smaller states, between proponents of a strong central government and those who favored strong state governments, and, above all, between northern and southern states. Of all the compromises on which the Constitution rested, perhaps the most controversial was the Three-Fifths Compromise, an agreement to count three-fifths of a state's slaves in apportioning Representatives, Presidential electors, and direct taxes.

        The three-fifths figure was the outgrowth of a debate that had taken place within the Continental Congress in 1783. The Articles of Confederation had apportioned taxes not according to population but according to land values. The states consistently undervalued their land in order to reduce their tax burden. To rectify this situation, a special committee recommended apportioning taxes by population. The Continental Congress debated the ratio of slaves to free persons at great length. Northerners favored a 4-to-3 ratio, while southerners favored a 2-to-1 or 4-to-1 ratio. Finally, James Madison suggested a compromise: a 5-to-3 ratio. All but two states--New Hampshire and Rhode Island--approved this recommendation. But because the Articles of Confederation required unanimous agreement, the proposal was defeated. When the Constitutional Convention met in 1787, it adopted Madison's earlier suggestion.

        The taxes that the Three-Fifths Compromise dealt with were "direct" taxes, as opposed to excise or import taxes. It was not until 1798 that Congress imposed the first genuine direct taxes in American history: a tax on dwelling-houses and a tax on slaves aged 12 to 50.

        The Three-Fifths Compromise greatly augmented southern political power. In the Continental Congress, where each state had an equal vote, there were only five states in which slavery was a major institution. Thus the southern states had about 38 percent of the seats in the Continental Congress. Because of the 1787 Three-Fifths Compromise, the southern states had nearly 45 percent of the seats in the first U.S. Congress, which took office in 1790.

        It is ironic that it was a liberal northern delegate, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, who proposed the Three-Fifths Compromise, as a way to gain southern support for a new framework of government. Southern states had wanted representation apportioned by population; after the Virginia Plan was rejected, the Three-Fifths Compromise seemed to guarantee that the South would be strongly represented in the House of Representatives and would have disproportionate power in electing Presidents.

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