The three-fifths Clause.

The Three-Fifths Clause of the Constitution was a compromise following a great dispute in the Constitutional Convention regarding whether states with large slave populations should get more seats in the House of Representatives AND more votes in the Electoral College when selecting a President.

The Three-Fifths Clause was ALSO a great step forward in the great and unprecedented American effort to abolish slavery, for many reasons, not least of which was that it kept southern slave states in the Constitutional Union and incentivized those states NOT to form a separate slavocracy in 1787 (which some were threatening to do).

If you teach the opposite to your students — if you present the Three-Fifths Clause as a stain on American history — if you incorrectly assert, without any historical research, that the Three-Fifths Clause was the result of some white supremacists thinking people with black skin are only fractionally human — then you’re doing a terrible, shameful disservice to the young Americans today looking to learn from you.

If you’re going to teach, take your work seriously because teaching is serious and important work. The future and fate of our country depend primarily on what and how future citizens think about our country.

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