Commonplace Book #44

In 1790, the first Census of the United States counted 144,000 free citizens in New Hampshire, which meant that the Granite State got four seats in the House of Representatives.  But South Carolina, with 140,000 free citizens and 100,000 slaves, got six seats.  The population of Massachusetts was greater than the population of Virginia, but Virginia had 300,000 slaves and so got five more seats.  If not for the three-fifths rule, the representatives of free states would have outnumbers representatives of slave states by 57 to 33.

Jill Lepore, These Truths, 125.

One thought on “Commonplace Book #44

  1. Even ignoring that slavery is morally depraved and one of the greatest of sins, that political arrangement was a failure right from the beginning. There is no way it could have ended well. It gave the plantation owners immense power. But why did anyone else agree to it? From that moment forward, the Spirit of ’76 was dead and all that remained was a struggle over unjust power.


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