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The Three-fifths Representation

The Three-fifths Representation image
Parent Issue
Day
24
Month
November
Year
1841
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

As tliis subject s luit imperfuctly underslood by thousands of the legal votersoftho Norlh, ve will cudeavor to raake it plain (y supposiog a case. In New York city resides a very wealthy gentleman called Jolm Jncob Astor. He is reputed to be worlh twenty five milücm [dollars. When Mr. A. votes, he puts into the ballot box one vote fur himself. His property counts nothing. He does not. claim-any votes on account of his wealtlr, end his fellow citizens would strcnuously resist such a claim, as the height of tyrannyund injustice, should it be made. The man who blacks his roots (if tie ba white,) can put in a vote tlmt wilJ entirely neutraliza tliat ui Mr. AstorJTho man who black boots for o li l&lins as much political power as üfl lt svhose sails whiteu evciy occ.'uij lïïose weallh 3 accumula. ted from every land. Such is the nature-of northern insiitutbns. Property confers no direct poüLical pnwer.Now suppose that Mr. Astor sliould remove to Virginia, aud invest 10,000,000 doN [ars of his pr.ptrty in siaves at #500 each. He would be the propnetor of 20,000 siaves. Thre'e-fifths of 20,000 are 12,000. Consequently, by a provisión in tiie National ConBtitutiün, at an election of Representaüves O Congress ni Virginia, Mr. A. would deposite his individual vote ds before, and his 20,000 s iaves would count as tnuch tcwarda ihe election of that raember to Congress, as 12,000 of the white population of that district. SnouUl his property be invested in manufactures ia New England, lnmself and property would possess togethrr onevote in electing a R,epresentalive: but f reside iu Virginia and his property be siaves, bim self and property will have as much power in electing a Rcpresentative to Congressaa12,001 frte pfcople of the north. But let us bring the case to our own doors Should Mr. Astor purchase the whole county of Washtenaw, the poorest tenant of any of his log housea vvoulJ possess as rnuch power in aduiinistering ihe govcrnment aa the ovvner of the couniy. But should Mr. A. remove lo Virginia, exchanging his land hero for slaves ia that State, he and tóa property would then possess as much politileal power as 12,000 of the indepondent freo people of this county. Is not this a surprjsing thingi Is thero any equality, justice or republicanism in such an arrangement of the voling power1? Moreover, in Michigan, every fifthpersons a voter, and ae each slave counts threi fifths of a white pcrson, ailowing the slaves to be worih 400 dollars each (vvhich is Mr. Clays' estimate.) it follows that the sum ol 3,333 dollars invested in slaves in Virginia id equal to one vole in Michigan. In order to " eqalize the exchanges" and do ub j tice, there should be a provisión in the stitution, ailowing to each northern votor one vote for each sum of 3,333 dollars ha might be worth. It is to ba borne in mind that the slavei themselves are not interested in tbis representauon; they derive no more benefit from it, and have no more voice in it than thei masters horses; but on the contrary it W interest of the twentyfive Reprcsentativetr, who are sent to Congress on account ot ' slave property, to labor with all thcir inigí tor the continuance of that system by wüica they hold 'Öieir seats.

Article

Subjects
Signal of Liberty
Old News