Crazy Talk: Three-Fifths Compromise Was 'Pragmatic' Solution

Emory University President James Wagner (Emory)

Emory University President James Wagner wrote in his institution's magazine that the compromise between the Northern and Southern congressmembers to delineate slaves as three-fifths of a human being was a great coup for the American government, reports Gawker.

President James Wagner rhapsodizes about the need for compromise in a politically turbulent society … He writes:

One instance of constitutional compromise was the agreement to count three-fifths of the slave population for purposes of state representation in Congress. Southern delegates wanted to count the whole slave population, which would have given the South greater influence over national policy. Northern delegates argued that slaves should not be counted at all, because they had no vote. As the price for achieving the ultimate aim of the Constitution — "to form a more perfect union" — the two sides compromised on this immediate issue of how to count slaves in the new nation. Pragmatic half-victories kept in view the higher aspiration of drawing the country more closely together.


Read more at Gawker.

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