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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Three-Fifths Update

 Oliver Willis at The American Independent:

On Tuesday, during a debate on the floor of the Tennessee General Assembly, state Rep. Justin Lafferty, a Republican claimed that the Three-Fifths Compromise was about "ending slavery."

"We ended up biting a bitter, bitter pill that haunts us today. And we did it to lay the foundation for all this that we enjoy in this country," Lafferty said, referencing the compromise.

He added, "The Three-Fifths Compromise was a direct effort to ensure that southern states never got the population necessary to continue the practice of slavery everywhere else in the country."

Additionally, Lafferty argued that not counting enslaved Blacks as a whole person was a praiseworthy achievement.

"By limiting the number of population in the count, they specifically limited the number of representatives that would be available in the slaveholding states, and they did it for the purpose of ending slavery," he said. "Well before Abraham Lincoln. Well before Civil War."

The claim is inaccurate and ahistorical. The Three-Fifths Compromise, in which enslaved Black people were counted as three-fifths of a human being for the purposes of counting the American population, further enshrined the institution of slavery in America.

After the compromise was agreed to in 1787, millions of human beings lived in bondage until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 and the abolition of slavery through the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865.