- Jun 4, 2004
Quite the paradox, isn't it? Slave owners wanted to consider them 100% human beings, equal to all others, while the abolitionists only wanted to consider them 3/5ths human. Hard to take a side on that one.What is WIDELY misunderstood about the 3/5 compromise is that it was never about an enslaved person’s humanity.
Slave states wanted slaves counted 100% when determining population and representation in Congress, even though they had no voting rights.
Non-slave states did not want slaves counted in drawing up the representative makeup of the House of Reps (and by extension, the electoral college).
This was a fight over the balance of power in congress between free and slave states, and the compromise was to allow a slave to count for 3/5.
If this was only about their humanity, it seems the side in favor of slavery is the one that wanted them to be counted fully as a human (except for, ya know, their inalienable rights, freedom, voting, etc) while the side that supposedly didn’t want them to be counted was doing so with the long term goal of not letting the slave states gain enough power to prevent the federal abolition of slavery.