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Three Fifths of All Other Persons

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within 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.”

Damn. Article 1 Section 1 of the Constitution just says that legislation shall be made by a Congress, made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Then, Section 2 jumps right into how to fairly count the populations of the individual states to determine how many representatives they have. Including the contritely vague addressing of enslaved individuals as essentially three-fifths of a person. The south, worried that its states might be unfairly represented in Congress without the inclusion of slaves as part of the population, struck a deal to count them, but no one could go so far as to agree that they should be counted as a whole person. Unreal.

That anyone wonders why people of color would question their perceived value in this country is naive and willfully ignorant. We wasted no time assigning a lesser-than value to them at the very top of the nation’s founding documents.

2mm lead holder for scale.