Three-Fifths Clause -- Article I, Section 2, Clause 3

The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, Fully Revised 2d ed. (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation and Regnery Publishing, 2014), pp. 67-68.

Case Legal Studies Research Paper 2016-21

5 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2016

See all articles by Erik M. Jensen

Erik M. Jensen

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This essay discusses the three-fifths clause in the Constitution, which governed how slaves were to be counted for purposes of apportioning both representation in the House of representatives and direct tax obligations among the states. That provision is often misunderstood. It was part of a critical compromise that made the Constitution possible, but insofar as representation was concerned, it was the North that resisted counting slaves at all and the South that wanted (for reasons of self-interest, of course) to count slaves as full persons. When it came to counting slaves for purposes of apportioning direct taxes among the states, the roles of North and South were reversed.

Keywords: Three-fifths rule, apportioning representatives, direct taxes, indirect taxes, slavery

Suggested Citation

Jensen, Erik M., Three-Fifths Clause -- Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 (2014). The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, Fully Revised 2d ed. (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation and Regnery Publishing, 2014), pp. 67-68.; Case Legal Studies Research Paper 2016-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2799797

Erik M. Jensen (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
216-368-3613 (Phone)
216-368-2086 (Fax)

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