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Defending the Constitution: The ‘Three-Fifths Compromise’ Was Not Based on Racism Rob Natelson

Commentary This is the second in a series of essays answering defamatory charges leveled against the U.S. Constitution. The first in the series addressed the allegation that the Constitution discriminated against women. In fact, as that essay showed, the framers took pains to ensure the document was gender-neutral. Another false charge is that the Constitution stems from, and continues to reflect, “systemic racism.” Critics point to Article I, Section 2, Clause 3—the “three-fifths compromise” explained below—even though that provision was amended out of the document more than 150 years ago. By way of illustration, a 2011 Time magazine cover story asserted, “The framers … gave us the idea that a black person was three-fifths of a human being.” Last year, Time doubled down with a column stating that “the Constitution defined African-Americans as only three-fifths of a person.” Similarly, a Teen Vogue item misinformed its young readers with these words: …
Commentary This is the second in a series of essays answering defamatory charges leveled against the U.S. Constitution. The first in the series addressed the allegation that the Constitution discriminated against women. In fact, as that essay showed, the framers took pains to ensure the document was gender-neutral. Another false charge is that the Constitution

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