The Constitutional Convention of 1787 looked at the distribution in the House of Representatives and the number of votes each state would have in presidential elections on the basis of the population of a state. The southern states wanted to count the entire slave population. That would increase their membership in Congress. Delegates from the North and others opposed to slavery wanted to count only free people, including free blacks in the North and South. The three-fifths compromise had a great influence on American politics in the decades to come. It has allowed pro-slavery states to have a disproportionate influence on the presidency, the Supreme Court and other positions of power. It also led the country to have about the same number of states that opposed and supported slavery. Some historians argue that important events in U.S. history would have had conflicting results had it not been for the three-fifths compromise, including: David Gans is the director of the human rights, civil rights and civil rights program at the Constitutional Accountability Center, a think tank and law firm.

The Express News published a column of him on last year`s constitutional requirements (“Count All Persons, as required by the Constitution, March 10) in which he stated that “someone who has been enslaved would be counted as three-fifths of a person” in order to determine representation in Congress. San Antonios District Judge Fred Biery addressed the Austin Bar Association on Law Day 2012. His speech focused on various social injustices in the American past and, as lawyers correct this injustice. Biery used the example of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. The judge said that in 1787, when the Constitution was ratified, Griffin`s “ancestors… there are only three-fifths of a person.¬†Biery is terribly ignorant. Or worse, it is consumed by the need to promote and pursue a personal profession of faith. A controversial issue at the 1787 Constitutional Convention was whether slaves were counted as part of the population in determining state representation in Congress or whether they were instead considered property and not considered as such for representation. Delegates from states with a large population of slaves argued that slaves should be regarded as persons in determining representation, but as property if the new government collected taxes on states on the basis of population.

Delegates from states where slavery had become rare argued that slaves should be involved in taxation, but not in the provision of representation. The census of the total number of slaves benefited the Southern States and strengthened the institution of slavery. Minimizing the percentage of the slave population counted for sharing reduced the political power of the slave states. When he presented his plan for the government framework to the Convention on the first day, Charles Pinckney of South Carolina proposed designating a “House of Del√©gates” by cutting “one member for every 1,000 inhabitants of black people.” [9] The Convention unanimously accepted the principle that representation in the House of Representatives would be proportional to the relative population of the state, but initially rejected its proposal to divide the black population at the same time as the rest of its plan.