Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3

Document 3

Letter from a Gentleman from Massachusetts

17 Oct. 1787Storing 4.2.3

My particular objections are first to the third paragraph in Sect. 2, Art. 1, which is in the following words--"Representatives and direct taxes, shall be apportioned among the several states, which may be included in this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined, by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons." Was not this form of words thus uncouthly used to avoid using the word Negroes? It certainly looks as though the word Negroes was omitted from some design, it cannot be from any fear of offending that nation of Africans. Why must that man that has 500 slaves in our southern states, where slaves are looked upon only as personal property, have 300 of them exempted from capitation, while an inhabitant of the northern states, possessed of the same number of horned cattle, horses and hogs, be obliged to pay for the whole number? They are all considered as chattles. But to proceed, "The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative: and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New-Hampshire shall be permitted to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New-Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North-Carolina five, South-Carolina five, and Georgia three." My objections to this part of the paragraph, are, that the representation is by far too small, to transact the business of so large an empire, our state assemblies may be annihilated, having nothing to do of importance; the power of taxation being vested in Congress, all other business may be transacted in our town meetings.--A large representation has ever been esteemed by the best whigs in Great-Britain, the best barrier against bribery and corruption, and yet we find a British king, having the disposition of all places, civil and military, & an immense revenue, SQUEEZED out of the very mouths of his wretched subjects, is able to corrupt the parliament, to vote him any supplies he demands, to support armies, to defend the prerogatives of his crown, and carry fire & sword by his fleets and armies; to desolate whole provinces in the eastern world, to aggrandize himself, and satisfy the avarice of his tyrannical subjects.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 2, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3, Document 3
The University of Chicago Press

Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

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