- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

One of the most misunderstood pieces of Founding Fathers’ history is their decision to count slaves as three-fifths of a person (“Bachmann was right,” Comment & Analysis, July 4).

Every time I hear this referenced, it is in a disparaging way, as if such a decision is clear proof of the low disregard the Founding Fathers had for the slaves as people. The reverse is the truth. The Southern states wanted the slaves counted the same as the whites. Because the overwhelming slave population was located within the Southern states, the 1:1 ratio would have given the Southern states a huge advantage in the House of Representatives, greatly reducing any chance of passing legislation favorable to the slaves. The ultimate agreement to count the slaves as three-fifths a person severely diminished the Southern legislative advantage, increasing chances for the Northern states to work toward abolishing slavery.

This is one more example of the fundamental desire among many of the Founding Fathers to end slavery. It is remarkable how uninformed most of us are today about our own history, and it is despicable that Democrats use that ignorance for political advantage as they play their nonstop class-warfare games.

BOB SEGAL

Burke

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