Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Founding

Appreciating the Genius of the Constitution: 3/5 Clause and All

In taking Congressional Republicans to task for leaving out the 3/5 clause of the Constitution  during their recent public reading of the document on the House floor, David Foster writes one of the clearest expositions I have read, to date, on the ways in which the compromise was made in the service of freedom and justice.  Since studying the Constitution in American Political Institutions and Ideas (102) during my freshman year at Ashland, it has been an ongoing and pet frustration of mine that the majority of otherwise intelligent people--and people of every political variety imaginable--persist in a kind of anti-Founding mythology on this point that has overgrown actual understanding of ideas and events.  If I only had a nickel for time I have heard:  "But the Founders thought black people were only worth 3/5 of a white person!" I could have funded enough scholarships to the Ashbrook program to have eradicated such ignorance.

If you happen to be a person who thinks there is anything to the charge that the 3/5 clause proves the racism of the Founders (and don't be embarrassed if you are as it's barely possible to escape this oppressive misconception), David Foster's 744 words are the most important ones you will read in your lifetime to date.  
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