The 3/5th's Compromise and Black America

Updated: Feb 27

Kathleen Wells - The Black American Family has been through a lot over the decades and even centuries. My long-held belief and byline have been how the Political Left, liberals, have misled and destroyed Black America. While I am not writing about the Saga by Alex Haley called Roots, there is a common struggle and a truth I want everyone to hear. The Naked Truth is always nuanced as the devil is always in the details. Too many people do not take the time to know the details. I always say this on the radio show.

There is a myth perpetuated by the Left and naturally embraced by the intellectuals, well-informed, also known as the Woke mob. How are we to understand the fact that in a nation committed to the principles of liberty, equality, natural rights, justice, and government by consent, with all those principles underpinning the nation, slavery persisted. And, not only persisted but became so entrenched that it took a vicious 4-year long civil war to dislodge it.

When examining the motivation and interest of the Founding Fathers in drafting the US Constitution, one cannot help but come away with the thought that they had a deeper and fuller understanding of human nature and life than people have today, despite today’s modern advances in technology.

What did the Founders think about slavery?

Are we to understand that because slavery survived, the Founders were indifferent to it or didn’t recognize they had a problem on their hands? Remember, Thomas Jefferson had remarked that the British had imposed slavery on America. In fact, when drafting the Declaration of Independence, because of dissent from delegates from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and northern interest in the transatlantic slave trade , Jefferson’s passage condemning slavery was omitted. Arguably, this passage removed was the most important passage of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s original passage on slavery appears below.

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

There is a mountain of evidence that indicates that the Founders knew that slavery was wrong in principle. Hamilton and Madison, for instance, both referred to slaves as men. This is a critical insight because if slaves were men that means, they have inalienable natural rights and that means that slavery could only rest on the basis of positive law and therefore by definition slavery is an injustice and they understood this.

When talking about a program to enlist slaves in the Continental Army, Alexander Hamilton wrote in a letter to Chief Justice John Jay during March 1779, “I foresee that this project will have to combat much opposition from prejudice and self-interest. The contempt we have been taught to entertain for blacks makes us fancy many things that are founded in neither reason nor experience.”

Hamilton placed prejudice and self-interest on one hand and reason and experience in the other hand. We also know from studying the founding and the Constitution, that we are to be guided by reason and experience.

Thomas Jefferson in one of the most famous statements on slavery to come out of the American founding wrote in his notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, explaining that slavery was at war with human nature and justice writing, “it’s bad for the slaves because [slavery] teaches them to hate their country and [slavery] teaches them to lack self-assertion but [slavery] is also bad for masters because [slavery] teaches masters to become tyrants, [slavery] warps them, [slavery] teaches them to have contempt for the rights of other human beings. And, once they learn to have contempt for their slaves, they then transfer that and learn to have contempt for others who are not slaves. And finally, it’s bad for society, for the country, as a whole.”

Jefferson said we are so wrong on the question of slavery that it is certain that God will punish us if we don’t get it right. He wrote, “if it ever came down to a contest between slaves and masters over the future of the country, the Almighty has no attribute which can take sides with us in a contest.”

We can see that the Founding Fathers understood that they had a colossal problem on their hands, that slavery was a massive injustice and they understood slavery as such. Today, the so-called Woke mob has not read the primary documents of the Founding Fathers.

To say the Founders didn’t end slavery altogether is not the same as saying they did not do anything about it, at all. During the founding and early American period, 9 states became free. All were the original states North of Maryland from Pennsylvania Northward abolished slavery in one way or another. Sometimes that abolishment was immediate, as in Massachusetts and sometimes it was gradual, as in New Jersey, which according to the 1860 Census, New Jersey had a few legal slaves on the brink of the Civil War. Also, remember when Thomas Jefferson drafted the Northwest Ordinance, his desire was to have slavery abolished in all states, however, New Jersey was the state that prevented that from coming to fruition.

If one looks to the Constitution itself, one notice’s that conspicuously absent from the entire Constitution, including the provisions that deal directly with slavery, is the word, “slave.” James Madison, Frederick Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln all came to the same conclusion as to why this was the case. The Founders did not want to taint the document with any implication that slavery existed. If anyone would come along in the future without having any particular knowledge of our history or politics, they could read our original Constitution and not know that slavery had been a part of it.