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Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 1 decade ago

what does "three fifth's of all other persons" mean in the CONSTITUTION?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    it was a compromise between states that supported slavery and those that didn't when it came to how representatives would be assigned to states and to how taxes would be distributed to the states. those states which didn't support slavery only wanted to count the free inhabitants of each state - meaning those states without slavery would receive a greater proportion of representation. those states which supported slavery wanted all the states inhabitants to count - free or not, which would have given those states more representation. the biggest part, however, was that since slaves could not vote, states with slaves (in particular the slaveholders themselves) would have greater representation in house of representatives and in the electoral college.

    finally, a compromise was reached that said:

    "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."

    those "other Persons" were for the most part, slaves.

  • aida
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    When the Constitution was drafted, slavery still existed. For any matter than involved population numbers, such as representation in the House of Representatives or allocation of federal funds, the question arose whether slaves (who of course did not vote) should be counted in the population of a state. The delegates compromised by agreeing to count each slave as three fifths of a person.

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    The Three Fifths Clause

  • 1 decade ago

    As previously mentioned, it was a compromise in the Constitution. The early states were divided into Slave states and Free states, when they were deciding how to arrange the legislative branch, in particular how many seats would they receive in the House, the slave states (the South) wanted to count their slaves towards their population. However, since slaves had no rights, they couldn't vote, the North did not want to allow it. In the end, a compromise, for every five slaves, three voting citizens would be counted towards the overall population.

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  • 1 decade ago

    When counting population back in the time of slavery only 3/5 of the black population would actually be counted. This was a disadvantage because depending on a states population, those with a larger population would get more money from the federal government, and would get more representatives in congress.

  • 1 decade ago

    I've heard it both ways:

    1. the whole southern slave population counted as 3/5 out of the white southern population.

    2. Also, a slave was 3/5 a person.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is my understanding that when choosing how taxes/ representatives would be delegated to states, they made these decisions by counting "free" persons as 1 and "all others" as 3/5...since slaves were not "free", they were only counted as 3/5 of a person...pretty messed up, huh?

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