why was the 3 5 compromise important

hree Fifths Compromise arose at the Constitutional
Congress (aka the Philadelphia Congress) related to the plans
submitted containing ideas for the power and structure of the United
States system of government. Fifteen resolutions were made in the
(Large State Plan) that was written by James Madison and proposed by Edmund J. Randolph. The Virginia Plan was strongly supported by the large, more populous states because of the resolution suggesting proportional representation. The Resolution 2 of the Virginia Plan advocated that the right vote in the national legislature, ought to be proportioned to the share of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants in the state. This form of proportional representation meant that the more people a state had, the more representatives it would get in the legislature (government). The real question was should slaves, who had no vote, be counted as a part of the population? Large States who had lots of slaves answered yes but small states with few slaves naturally disagreed and said No. Constitutional Convention was attended by delegates representing 12 of the 13 first colonies. (Rhode Island declined to attend because it was fearful of losing its states' rights). The large, more populous, states were Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts The small, less populous, states were New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire and New York Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina were small states in terms of population but hoped to increase their numbers by importing slaves and attracting more immigrants and people from other states The slave states particularly in the South wanted slaves to count as part of the population, but the free states of the North feared that the South would increase its power in Congress by importing more slaves. The Southern states were South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and Georgia The opposing sides of the argument needed to make concessions to enable the convention to continue - a compromise was needed. James Wilson, a delegate from Pennsylvania and Roger Sherman a delegate from Connecticut proposed the Three Fifths Compromise.


James Wilson (17421798) was one of the Founding Fathers and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was a farmer, lawyer and a leading legal theorist. (James Wilson would become one of the six original justices appointed by President George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States). Lawyer Roger Sherman (1721 1793) was also a Founding Father and had the great distinction of being the only man to sign all four of the greatest U. S. documents: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and eventually the Constitution. These extremely able men proposed the Three Fifths Compromise. The Three Fifths Compromise was: The delegates to the Constitutional Convention finally agreed the Three Fifths Compromise, that slaves should be counted at three fifths of their real number. The Three Fifths Compromise resolved the issue of counting slaves towards population in regards to representation in the House of Representatives. The Three Fifths Compromise was also used to determine what percentage of the nation's direct tax burden the state would have to bear. The Three Fifths Compromise is also referred to as the federal ratio - one slave will count for 3/5 of a free man when counting population for seats by state in the house. The Three Fifths Compromise had skirted around the dangerous issue of slavery and the importation of slaves. This was tackled in the. ). The Three Fifths Compromise is included in The slave trade compromise is detailed in The Three Fifths Compromise was made obsolete by the Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4 that relates to taxes in proportion to numbers of people in a state was eventually changed by the The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was an act of the Congress of the Confederation forbade slavery in the territories and new states. As a concession to the South, the Northwest ordinance included a Fugitive Slave Law to ensure runaway slaves would be returned to their owners if caught in the northwest. The article on the Three Fifths Compromise provides the definition and history of one of the major achievements of his presidential term in office.


The following video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 1st American President whose presidency spanned from April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797. The Three-Fifth Compromise Annotation: The Constitution was a document based upon compromise: between larger and smaller states, between proponents of a strong central government and those who favored strong state governments, and, above all, between northern and southern states. Of all the compromises on which the Constitution rested, perhaps the most controversial was the Three-Fifths Compromise, an agreement to count three-fifths of a state's slaves in apportioning Representatives, Presidential electors, and direct taxes. The three-fifths figure was the outgrowth of a debate that had taken place within the Continental Congress in 1783. The Articles of Confederation had apportioned taxes not according to population but according to land values. The states consistently undervalued their land in order to reduce their tax burden. To rectify this situation, a special committee recommended apportioning taxes by population. The Continental Congress debated the ratio of slaves to free persons at great length. Northerners favored a 4-to-3 ratio, while southerners favored a 2-to-1 or 4-to-1 ratio. Finally, James Madison suggested a compromise: a 5-to-3 ratio. All but two states--New Hampshire and Rhode Island--approved this recommendation. But because the Articles of Confederation required unanimous agreement, the proposal was defeated. When the Constitutional Convention met in 1787, it adopted Madison's earlier suggestion. The taxes that the Three-Fifths Compromise dealt with were "direct" taxes, as opposed to excise or import taxes. It was not until 1798 that Congress imposed the first genuine direct taxes in American history: a tax on dwelling-houses and a tax on slaves aged 12 to 50. The Three-Fifths Compromise greatly augmented southern political power. In the Continental Congress, where each state had an equal vote, there were only five states in which slavery was a major institution.


Thus the southern states had about 38 percent of the seats in the Continental Congress. Because of the 1787 Three-Fifths Compromise, the southern states had nearly 45 percent of the seats in the first U. S. Congress, which took office in 1790. It is ironic that it was a liberal northern delegate, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, who proposed the Three-Fifths Compromise, as a way to gain southern support for a new framework of government. Southern states had wanted representation apportioned by population; after the Virginia Plan was rejected, the Three-Fifths Compromise seemed to guarantee that the South would be strongly represented in the House of Representatives and would have disproportionate power in electing Presidents. Over the long term, the Three-Fifths Compromise did not work as the South anticipated. Since the northern states grew more rapidly than the South, by 1820, southern representation in the House had fallen to 42 percent. Nevertheless, from Jefferson's election as President in 1800 to the 1850s, the three-fifths rule would help to elect slaveholding Presidents. Southern political power increasingly depended on the Senate, the President, and the admission of new slaveholding states. Document: 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 the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, 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. [In 1929, Congress fixed the total number of Representatives at 435; currently, there is one Representative for about every 519,000 persons]. Additional information: U. S. Constitution, Article I, Section 2

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