When the leadership of the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives decided as their first act to have members read the U.S. Constitution aloud, there were some who wanted to emphasize that part of the original document that, for taxation, enumeration, and representation purposes, decreed that slaves had only “three-fifths” the value of whites. That formula between Southern and Northern states, reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, came to be known as the “Three-fifths Compromise.”

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