Three-Fifths of a Question

DavidEBernstein at DavidEBernstein at
Tue Jan 10 13:01:57 PST 2006

Why were the southern states so eager to have slaves counted for population  
purposes?  Obviously, they wanted more representation in the House and  
electoral college, but the Constitution also provided that "direct  Taxes shall be 
apportioned" among the several States by population.   Why weren't the southern 
delegates concerned that their states would get socked  with disproportionate 
taxation? Did they expect limited direct taxes? Or is this  a case where the 
interests of the political class (more political power)  diverged from the 
public's interest (less taxes)?  

David E.  Bernstein
Visiting Professor
University of Michigan School of  Law
George Mason University School of  Law

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