Many people contend the Constitution is a pro-slavery document in light of the three-fifths clause which states:

“Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included in this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to 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 …” (Article 1, Section 2.3)

As a graduate of a historical black university, I was taught the Founding Fathers gave us slavery in the Constitution because of the three-fifths clause—declaring blacks were three-fifths of a person. It was Douglass who provided clarity on this issue and turned my thinking right-side up. In a speech delivered in Glasgow, Scotland, March 26, 1860, Douglass explained the true meaning of the three-fifths clause:

Thus, the three-fifths clause was written for the sole purpose of limiting the congressional representation of the slave states. According to the Constitution, for every 30,000 residents in a state, that state would receive one representative to Congress. The slave states wanted to count each slave as one vote. Rejecting their demand, the Northern states argued that no slave would be counted as a vote as long as that person was a slave.

A compromise was reached in that 50,000 slaves rather than 30,000 slaves would equal one congressional representative. In other words, the three-fifths compromise denied the slave states additional pro-slavery representation in Congress


KCarl Smith
KCarl Smith

The foremost expert on diversity outreach, the Trump Campaign recently selected KCarl to serve as an Advisory Board Member, Black Votes for Trump. A bestselling author and highly sought-after speaker, KCarl is the creator of the Frederick Douglass Republican Engagement Strategy, a powerful and proven persuasive messaging approach—developed through years of real-world successes. For more than 11 years, KCarl has empowered thousands of Conservatives with his proprietary, game-changing diversity outreach best practice. KCarl has spoken to more than 300 Conservative, Republican and faith-based organizations. He has appeared on several national TV and radio talk shows. KCarl is the author of, Frederick Douglass Republicans: The Movement to Re-Ignite American’s Passion for Liberty. In 2011, an upper level executive of the NAACP, who wishes to remain anonymous, read KCarl’s book and commented, “If the message in KCarl’s book gets national attention, the Democratic Party will be a thing of the past.” As the Founder, President and CEO of LibertyMESSENGER USA, KCarl leads the organization’s efforts since to: (1) Champion policies that promote the values of free market enterprise—enabling Americans to pursue their dreams; (2) Empower freedom advocates to win the narrative in ways that resonate with all Americans—especially minorities, young people and women, by voting their values as articulated by the life-empowering values of Frederick Douglass and (3) Ensure educational opportunity for all students–specifically those attending under-performing, poverty-plighted schools. A retired U.S. Army field-grade officer, KCarl completed the Army’s Airborne and Air Assault Schools while on active duty. He resides in Trussville, Alabama. KCarl is the proud father of three children: Keith, Christie and Kyle. KCarl also has seven grandchildren.

    1 Response to "The Three-Fifths Clause"

    • Andriana Christine Riera

      I like the name Liberty Messenger USA Its like Turning Point USA. This explanation is amazing and surely not really understood by many.

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