Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sen. Thad Cochran's Tea Party challenger, Chris McDaniel, has the Three-Fifths Compromise emblazoned on his RV

In case you don't remember off hand, back when our Founding Fathers penned our Constitution in 1787, we still had this whole slavery thing going on down here in the South. An impasse arose at the Constitutional Convention over whether or not slaves would count as persons for purposes of taxation and representation in Congress. Shamefully, our Founding Fathers decided to kick the slavery issue down the road by reaching what is known as the "Three-Fifths Compromise". The gist of it is that slaves would be counted as 3/5ths of a person, rather than a whole person. So for every 10 whites, you had 10 people. But for every 10 blacks, you had 6. Just think, if we still had the Three-Fifths Compromise in place, Republicans wouldn't be in such bad shape nationally.

Anyway, the Three-Fifths Compromise isn't exactly a little-known feature of our Constitution. And it's fairly easy to find, as it's right there on the front page in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3. It reads:
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. (Emphasis added.)
It's also easily found on the side of the campaign vehicle of self-proclaimed constitutional scholar Chris McDaniel, who is running a Tea Party-backed challenge to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R - Miss) in next year's Republican primary. First, a picture of McDaniel's campaign RV:

(click to enlarge)

Now here's a close-up of the Constitution on his RV (I've underlined the Three-Fifths language in red):

(click to enlarge)

The main talking point of McDaniel's campaign is that he wants to "restore the Constitution". Given that he's touring Mississippi (of all states) with the Three-Fifths Compromise on the side of his campaign vehicle, he should be clear about exactly what parts of the Constitution he does and does not want to "restore".

7 comments:

Dat Dam Dem said...

Now Matt, you know full well that the only parts of the Constitution that really matter are the 2nd Amendment (except that part about "well regulated") and the 10th Amendment. Those parts about no religious tests to hold office, the 14th Amendment in regards to citizenship and, of course, that pesky Supremacy Clause, really don't mean what they say...

Arch said...

How ironic that these Sons of the Confederacy are now wrapping themselves in the Constitution, which they have for so long attempted to exempt themselves from and overthrow.

Col. Reb Sez said...

I know you are a strong Democrat, but this blog post is one of the silliest I've ever seen. How can one display a copy of the Constitution without showing this provision?

Furthermore, the Three-fifths Compromise had the effect of limiting the influence of the Southern states. Would you really want slaves to have been counted as full people for apportionment purposes when their owners were the ones doing the voting? The Three-fifths Compromise is what made the eventual abolition of slavery possible.

Matt Eichelberger said...

CRS: It's pretty easy to design it to where it doesn't show up. And the effect of the Three-Fifths Compromise was to continue slavery, not end it.

But you're right, having the Three-Fifths Compromise displayed on the side of your bus isn't that big of a deal: http://cottonmouthblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/mother-jones-cochrans-tea-party.html

Col. Reb Sez said...

Matt, type "u.s. constitution" into Google images and see what pops up. Virtually all contain the wording of the Three-fifths Compromise, since it is near the top.

At the time the Constitution was written, ending slavery was just not a topic. Had slaves been counted as full citizens for apportionment purposes the slave states would be stronger than they already were.

And as for your "neo-Confederate" claim, these were apparently SCV events. The SCV is a heritage society no different from the DAR or UDC. But if you want to make hay out of him attending an SCV event, I'm fine with that. But the Constitution thing is just bogus.

Please understand that I really know nothing about this guy. I thought Emily Wagster's tweet concerning "prayer" as it related to his candidacy was pretty funny and enlightening. But surely there are enough legitimate issues without making stuff up.

Matt Eichelberger said...

CRS, are you serious with this statement: "At the time the Constitution was written, ending slavery was just not a topic."?

For God's sake, it was an issues AT THE FIRST CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, which adopted the American Association, which, in item number 2, declared that they would cease to be involved in the slave trade. Read it here: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=lljc&fileName=001/lljc001.db&recNum=81&itemLink=r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(jc00137)):%230010082&linkText=1

It continued to be an issue through the Revolution and on to the Constitutional Convention 13 years later. For instance, here's Thomas Jefferson's line about slavery from his 1782 writing "Notes on Virginia": "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

Have you not heard of the "Curse of Heaven" speech delivered by Gov. Morris on August 8, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention? Check it out here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_808.asp

I'd also point you to James Madison's thoughts on the subject during the Constitutional Convention: "It seems now to be pretty well understood that the real difference of interests lies not between the large and small but between the northern and southern states. The institution of slavery and its consequences form the line of discrimination."

The Chairman said...

Look up "grasping at straws" and you will find this article there. You must think people are idiots. Wait, you are Liberals, so take it back- you do think people are idiots, and you would be 48% right.