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Lawrence,

If our fore fathers thought all men were created equal.... blacks or slaves would not have been counted as 4/5 of a real person.

Unfortunately, "politics" is defined as "the art of the possible" -- with the consequence that a political compromise often does not reflect the beliefs or desires of those on either side of the issue in question. Rather, it's simply what both sides to be the least bad arrangement that will provide a path forward.

Article I, Section 2, of our federal constitution was such an ugly compromise. The original provision states that the census for apportioning both representation in the House of Representatives and federal taxes, which originally were levied on the states in proportion to the census rather than on individuals, was to count all "free persons" and 3/5 -- not 4/5 -- of all "other persons," with no mention whatsoever of race, while excluding Indians who were not taxed. This provision assigned the same weight to free black persons as to free white persons, and the same weight to white persons who were not free, if there were any, as to black persons who were not free. This compromise meant that slave states had proportionately less representation, but also paid proportionately less in taxes to the federal government.

I think we all agree that this provision was not consistent with statement that all men have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of our Declaration of Independence. However, it's also a document drafted by a different group of people to address a very different political situation over a decade later.

Norm.
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