UNDERSTANDING THE LIE that Blacks were considered 3/5th of a person can be illustrated if we use the analogy of representation as votes for congressional power.
The number of representatives a state could have in congress depended on its population. The South wanted the POWER of large representation by counting slaves. The North and Founders wanted to get to the point that they could have a union for its own protection and still end slavery.
For instance, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves That he inherited from His father and Father-N-Law. In Virginia, you could not by law even free your slaves; not even at death at the time Jefferson died. If Blacks were found wandering without a master, they could suffer tremendous punishment. Below is the attitude of Jefferson about slavery,, He called it an “abominable crime,” He was able to stop international slave trade into Virginia and out, but was unable to get the law changed in Virginia. In addition he later came within (ONE VOTE) in stopping it NATION WIDE. Under those circumstances, he Later said the below:
“My opinion has ever been that, until more can be done for them, we should endeavor, with those whom fortune has thrown on our hands, to feed and clothe them well, protect them from ill usage, require such reasonable labor only as is performed voluntarily by freemen, and be led by no repugnancies to abdicate them, and our duties to them.”
–Thomas Jefferson, 1814
Only 14 of the 57 creators of the Constitution (56 signers and George Mason) owned slaves. Jefferson was one of the 14. Now maybe you can understand why they did the 3/5th clause. They wanted one strong country to be able to protect itself from others such as England but found no immediate way to do that and destroy Slavery. Although Jefferson came within 1 vote. So they put a poison pill in the constitution that would come back as time went on and slaves became more numerous, to hunt the south. That was the 3/5th clause.
The 3/5th clause. IT DID NOT MEAN that blacks were 3/5ths of a person…. And as Frederick Douglas pointed out later when he figured it out.. it was one of the most brilliant things he ever saw….. Here is why:
1. If there was one thing southern state leaders wanted more than slaves it was political power and muscle nationally.
2. What the founders did was to say (I WILL PARAPHRASE) as long as you have slaves who vote, ONLY 3/5th of the number can be counted.. If you have a 100 slaves only 60 of the votes will be counted… Which would be the same if only 60 slaves voted.. But the easiest way to make sure a state did not have 90 or all 100 to vote and say, that is only 3/5ths of my slaves (They could be lying) was to let them all vote but only count 3/5th of those who voted…. THEY WERE WHOLE VOTES…
IN SHORT.. it is NOT TRUE that a black was counted as 3/5th of a person… I was taught that drivel and we should correct that.
3. So what they were saying is , if you want more political power.. you have to free more slaves.. the more you free the more power you have in congress.. and if you free 100% you will get the benefit of 100% of the slave population… Brilliant..