Three-Fifths Of A Newspaper
But they didn't stop there. Showing the originality of a rap artist skimming through the Rhino music catalog, in search of a 70's hit off which to lift an eight-bar hook, the Times reached into the liberal playbook and rather clumsily interjected the race card into the discussion.
In any case, it is a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that they alone understand the true meaning of a text that the founders wisely left open to generations of reinterpretation. Certainly the Republican leadership is not trying to suggest that African-Americans still be counted as three-fifths of a person.
Just because Republicans want to make sure any legislation they pass meets Constitutional muster doesn't mean they believe blacks be counted as three-fifths of a person, but maybe by using this example as part of their rebuttal the New York Times believes three-fifths of their readership are functionally ignorant of history.
The South (during the era of slavery) wanted to include blacks in the population tally so they could increase the number of pro-slavery congressional representatives. It took 30,000 people to get one congressman, and slaves outnumbered whites in slave states. It was the Democrat hope that with enough pro-slavery congressmen, they could overturn much of the abolitionist legislation Northern Republicans had previously passed.
However, there was one philosophical problem: blacks in Southern states had no rights. Thus The North deemed it a joke they only be counted when beneficial to Democrats. Northern abolitionists argued that since The South considered blacks their property, all "property" should be counted for the purpose of determining congressional representation. Thus the Northern abolitionists would include their property: horses, cattle, homes, furniture, pets, etc. in their population tallies.
The South denounced the proposal, so anti-slavery northerner James Wilson of Pennsylvania came up with a compromise.
Blacks in the Southern states would be counted as "three-fifths" of a person. That way, it would take 50,000 people (instead of 30,000) in a district to earn congressional representation. That had the effect of limiting the power of the slave states.
It had nothing to do with the worth of a person and everything to do with diminishing the power of Southern racists, like those progressives at the New York Times today who continue to distort the history of an entire people purely for political gain.
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