In 1787, the United States Constitution was being drafted by the Founding Fathers, who were grappling with the issue of slavery. One of the most controversial and hotly debated topics was how to count slaves in the new nation`s population for the purposes of representation and taxation.
The compromise that emerged from these debates was known as the Three-Fifths Compromise. It stated that for every five slaves in a state, three of them would be counted as part of the state`s population. This compromise was enshrined in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and lasted until the end of slavery in the United States with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865.
The Three-Fifths Compromise was a crucial moment in the history of slavery in the United States. It institutionalized the idea that slaves were not fully human, but rather property to be counted as part of a state`s population for political purposes. This dehumanizing view of slaves was one of the key factors that fueled the abolitionist movement in the United States, which sought to end slavery and establish equal rights for all people.
In addition to its impact on the abolitionist movement, the Three-Fifths Compromise also had significant political implications. By counting slaves as part of a state`s population, slaveholding states were able to gain more representation in the House of Representatives than they would have otherwise. This gave them more political power and influence in the federal government, which they used to protect their economic interests, including the continuation of slavery.
Overall, the agreement to count slaves as three-fifths of a person was a deeply troubling and dehumanizing moment in United States history. It institutionalized the idea that some people were less human than others and perpetuated the horrific practice of slavery for nearly a century. While it was eventually abolished, the legacy of this compromise is still felt today in the ongoing struggle for racial justice and equality in the United States.