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The Constitution and the 3/5 Compromise

The Constitution and the 3/5 Compromise

For more than sixty years various groups have made the values of the United States a target using the language of the Constitution as the kindling for the fire. Many of these groups insist that the Constitution should be disbanded and a new constitution formed. The Constitution of the United States has created a system of government that has endured more than two hundred years and is the longest lasting republican form in the history of civilization and to eradicate such a document for trivial matter regarding language is blatantly insane.

Disregarding the true motivations behind various groups desiring to install a form of government to suit a global agenda; the argument being made by liberal factions is one that does have its merits. The history of the United States preceded by subjection under the English monarchy did fail to end the institution of slavery during the federal conventions and though less than two dozen words offend a small group; the fact that slavery is part of American history remains an embarrassment to the larger majority.

There is little we can do to erase that part of our history though an effort is being made to remove statues, flags and other offensive monuments depicting the perpetrators of the offense as an attempt to bury a portion of our culture – This is one of the arguments aimed at cultural cleansing of American history. The other argument is that retaining these monuments identifies all Americans as former slave owners. It defines those of us that consider ourselves conservative as racist. True – that is who we were then – but who are we now?

Were any of your ancestors a slave owner? For the majority of American’s the answer to this is no. The larger portion of American’s ancestry immigrated to America after the Civil War. How many American’s can claim a direct descendant to a slave? Not many – and not all people born of African descent are descendants of former slaves. The distinction in our history of whom we were then and who we are now needs to be considered.

Removing statues, flags and monuments will never fully reach the goal of removing slavery from American history unless Black history museums and literature are also eradicated as offensive. If the reference to the 3/5 compromise (Article I Section 3) offends liberals then surely the pictures and records of slavery maintained in museums and libraries is also equally offensive and to condemn one while securing the other is hypocrisy.

The 3/5 compromise was about taxation and apportionment of delegates of which the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments have resolved. The language of this portion of Article I are useless for any reason other than as a bookmark to slavery being constitutional in the United States. Is there a need to retain this language? The words serve no purpose and to expunge these words from the Constitution is simply a statement that; we are no longer this.

The fear to most constructionist is that if it is allowed for congress to tamper with the language of the Constitution that factions will use this precedence to alter other articles. Fact is the precedence has already been set. Articles such as the Eleventh Amendment began changing language in the Constitution establishing a new system of electing the president and vice president.

Article V of the Constitution establishes methods of modifying the Constitution. This must be done with a constitutional amendment added to the current document. It cannot be used to install a new system of government which precedence established can only happen by convention. Conventions require committees to be formed from the private sectors having no authority to pass the amendment, but can only recommend a change to the congress. Congress must then form committees to review the suggestions. The wording and legal aspects then must go to a separate committee that’s function is exclusively to structure the first draft which then goes back to congress for approval. In short the restructuring of a new form of government cannot be done as easily as skeptics assume because after the final bill is accepted the bill must be approved by the states with a ¾ majority. This is all set in precedent established during the Articles of Confederation and federal conventions.

This is the language of the 3/5 compromise Article I section 3;

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of , and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

By removing the language in bold print the article reads the following:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

There is absolutely no diversion from the original intent of the article. Article V was made part of the Constitution because the constructors understood the future needs of society will no doubt require a modification. The departure of these words is a simple modification designating the difference of who we were as American’s prior to the Civil War and who we are now.

Conservatively The Constitution is the best system of government formed, but the founders expected changes. Though change in many instances are but a fad. And any alterations – especially amendments – is a serious incision into the document should not be done just because it sound plausible – This is why the process last so long. This is a matter where both conservatives and liberals need to assess. Are we descendants of slave owners – or are we not?

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