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US Lawmaker's ridiculous explanation for the three-fifths compromise on slavery (opinion)

05:30  08 may  2021
05:30  08 may  2021 Source:   cnn.com

Louisiana state lawmaker suggests that schools should teach the 'good' of slavery

  Louisiana state lawmaker suggests that schools should teach the 'good' of slavery "If you're having a discussion on slavery, then you can talk about everything dealing with slavery, the good, the bad, the ugly," said state Rep. Ray Garofalo.Garofalo, who chairs the House Education Committee, said during a hearing on the bill, also known as HB 564, that his legislation sought to remove "politics out of the classroom" and cultivate "a learning environment free of discrimination.

The three - fifths compromise , also known as the three - fifths clause, was not created to constrain the population of slave states nor was it intended to help end slavery . This, of course, would maximize slave states' representation in Congress. On the other side, some northern delegates claimed that enslaved people should not be counted at all for purposes of representation. They argued that southerners couldn't both insist on holding human beings as property and claim them as people when it suited their interests.

Lafferty’ s statement about how the Three - Fifths Compromise was created to end slavery was alarming but the real insult was when the House Republicans clapped for him when he finished his diatribe,” he said. Parkinson added that conversations about race in the Tennessee Legislature have The lawmaker behind Arkansas’ measure said it was aimed at preventing “divisive” concepts being taught state employees, particularly by third party groups. Elsewhere across the country, conservative lawmakers say they fear that white students are being taught that they should be ashamed for past

Speaking to the Tennessee House of Representatives on Tuesday, State Representative Justin Lafferty became the latest politician to reveal how little many Americans, including those in positions of power, know about this country's history.

a man wearing a suit and tie © Tennessee House of Representatives

The Constitution's "three-fifths compromise," he said, was designed "to ensure that southern states never got the population necessary to continue the practice of slavery everywhere else in the country," and he asserted that the framers adopted this clause "for the purpose of ending slavery."

The three-fifths compromise, also known as the three-fifths clause, was not created to constrain the population of slave states nor was it intended to help end slavery. The clause was a compromise between contending visions of freedom and power in the new nation. It helped secure the influence of slaveholders and their allies in the federal government for decades to come, without doing a thing to curb or end the abhorrent practice of slavery.

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Lafferty’ s statement about how the Three - Fifths Compromise was created to end slavery was alarming but the real insult was when the House Republicans clapped for him when he finished his diatribe,” he said. Parkinson added that conversations about race in the Tennessee Legislature have always been “very uncomfortable.” A spokesperson for the House Republican caucus did not immediately return emailed questions on Lafferty’ s comments. While the House overwhelmingly approved the legislation on Tuesday, the GOP-controlled Senate chamber refused to accept the

Justin Lafferty said the Three - Fifths Compromise was created " for the purpose of ending slavery ." During a lengthy debate on the GOP-controlled House floor, several Black lawmakers expressed concerns about the bill's impact on how certain subjects would be taught in schools, specifically highlighting the Three - Fifths Compromise . The policy was made during the nation's Constitutional Convention in 1787 and classified that three - fifths of a state's slave population could be counted toward its total population when apportioning taxes and states' representation in Congress.

The inaccuracies and misstatements of Lafferty and other Republicans, who are now seeking to prevent schools from teaching the fact-based history of slavery and racism in the United States, are "Exhibit A" for why we urgently need that history in our classrooms.

In 1787, the delegates who assembled in Philadelphia to draft the Constitution confronted complex questions of how to structure a national legislature and whether to ground representation in an enumeration of the population. They also debated whether, if a population count were used, enslaved people would be given the same weight as free people.

When the convention met, a number of northern states had already begun the process of abolishing slavery. But delegates to the convention, almost half of whom were slaveholders themselves, were overall too invested in slavery and too committed to limiting the power of the federal government to set the nation on a direct course toward abolition.

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Republican lawmakers in recent days have given new voice to a claim that’s surfaced and been debunked before, that the clause in the Constitution counting slaves as three - fifths of a person actually was a step toward ending slavery . This is what Lafferty, who represents Knoxville, said: “By limiting the number of population in the count, they specifically limited the number of representatives who would be available in the slave -holding states and they did it for the purpose of ending slavery .

“Without the Three - Fifths Compromise , John Adams wins the election of 1800 against Thomas Jefferson,” Amar says, because of the extra electoral votes Southern states held based on their slave populations. Eight of the first nine presidential elections were won by slave -owning Virginians, says Amar, who deals with the Across the country, conservative lawmakers say they fear that white students are being taught that they should be ashamed for past wrongs carried out by earlier generations, such as slavery . But opponents counter that such measures may be unenforceable and a violation of free speech.

About 700,000 enslaved people lived in the country at the time, mostly in the southern states. Under sanction of state law, enslavers forced Black people to labor without pay, held them captive on farms and plantations and bought, sold and mortgaged them without regard for their humanity.

Yet during the convention's contentious debates about structuring Congress, some southerners insisted that if the House of Representatives was going to be based on a count of the population, then enslaved people must be treated as full "persons" in that count. This, of course, would maximize slave states' representation in Congress.

On the other side, some northern delegates claimed that enslaved people should not be counted at all for purposes of representation. They argued that southerners couldn't both insist on holding human beings as property and claim them as people when it suited their interests. Gouverneur Morris, a delegate from Pennsylvania, pointed up the hypocrisy: "Upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed in the representation? Are they men? Then make them Citizens and let them vote. Are they property? Why then is no other property included?"

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Lafferty’s statement about how the Three - Fifths Compromise was created to end slavery was alarming but the real insult was when the House Republicans clapped for him when he finished his diatribe,” he said. Parkinson added that conversations about race in the Tennessee Legislature have always been “very uncomfortable.” A spokesperson for the House Republican caucus did not immediately return emailed questions on Lafferty’s comments. While the House overwhelmingly approved the legislation on Tuesday, the GOP-controlled Senate chamber refused to accept the House bill hours later.

Lafferty’ s statement about how the Three - Fifths Compromise was created to end slavery was alarming but the real insult was when the House Republicans clapped for him when he finished his diatribe,” he said. Parkinson added that conversations about race in the Tennessee Legislature have always been “very uncomfortable.” A spokesperson for the House Republican caucus did not immediately return emailed questions on Lafferty’ s comments. While the House overwhelmingly approved the legislation on Tuesday, the GOP-controlled Senate chamber refused to accept the

Ironically, then, leaders who were invested in slavery wanted the enslaved to be considered full persons, while those who stood mostly for freedom wanted them not counted at all. As historian Patrick Rael has written, "Each section's interest demanded that it argue against its own principles."

The convention finally arrived at the compromise position that enslaved people would count as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of determining representation in the House, a formula that was later incorporated into the structure of the Electoral College. The three-fifths ratio itself did not originate in 1787; it had also been adopted as a basis for taxation at a 1783 meeting of the Continental Congress, but did not go into effect because it wasn't ratified by the states.

The Constitution's three-fifths clause helped slaveholders advance their interests on the national stage, at least in the short term, giving them more power than they would have had if the enslaved were not counted at all. It put enslavers in a strong position to garner crucial patronage appointments. It also gave them and their allies the edge in close contests, including the election of 1800, in which slaveholder Thomas Jefferson ultimately won the presidency, and the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which provided for the deportation of Native peoples across the southern states.

GOP lawmaker: Three-Fifths Compromise was to end slavery

  GOP lawmaker: Three-Fifths Compromise was to end slavery NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee Republican falsely declared Tuesday that an 18th century policy designating a slave as three-fifths of a person was adopted for “the purpose of ending slavery," commenting amid a debate over whether educators should be restricted while teaching about systematic racism in America. During lengthy debate on the GOP-controlled House floor, several Black lawmakers expressed concerns about the bill's impact on howDuring lengthy debate on the GOP-controlled House floor, several Black lawmakers expressed concerns about the bill's impact on how certain subjects would be taught in schools, specifically highlighting the Three-Fifths Compromise.

Yet the compromise was not powerful enough to guarantee permanent southern dominance, especially in the face of demographic change. In the decades following the nation's founding, slaveholders' grip on federal power was imperiled by larger population growth in the North, and they grew to rely on their strength in the Senate to block legislation that might diminish the protections that slavery enjoyed.

For many White southerners, Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 was the breaking point. Elected almost exclusively by voters in the free states, Lincoln and the Republicans had pledged to stop slavery's spread. Southern separatists, faced with the possibility that slaveholding interests might never again prevail in the US government, broke with the Constitution and tried to form a separate nation, dedicated to preserving slavery and White supremacy.

In their veneration for the founding, Lafferty and other Republicans are reluctant to grapple with this nation's history as it actually unfolded. Neither the three-fifths clause nor any other constitutional measure led inevitably to slavery's abolition. Powerful White Americans persisted in defending the right to own Black people as property. It was, finally, a civil war in which more than 700,000 people perished that forced White southerners to give up those claims.

All this is not a matter of opinion or of politics. It's a matter of historical fact.

Officeholders should not fear that American children will learn these truths. To the contrary they should fund and support history teaching that tells the whole story, in all its difficulty and drama, to give future generations the tools they need to confront the challenges of their own times.

a woman wearing glasses: Kate Masur © Sean Su Kate Masur

1619 Project creator responds to McConnell's effort to block its teachings in public schools: He's saying 'the truth is too difficult' for America to bear .
"He's saying that we're far too fragile to be able to withstand the scrutiny of the truth," said 1619 creator Nikole Hannah-Jones of McConnell.The project, which was published by The New York Times Magazine in 2019, examines the legacy of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans throughout the nation's history, drawing the ire of conservatives who have sought to ban the body of work from being taught in schools.

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This is interesting!