The Three-Fifths Compromise is an agreement reached during the United States Constitutional Convention in 1787. The decision of this agreement was considered three out of every five slaves as people. This compromise was made to calculate the state’s population for parliamentary representatives, as well as to calculate state taxation.
This ratio was first introduced in 1783 as an amendment intended to change the base for determining the wealth of each state. This amendment suggested that taxes would be collected in proportion to the number of state residents, regardless of their gender, age, and, which is the most important, quality, i.e., race. The southern states were outraged by this proposal, since it was supposed to take into account slaves in terms of taxation, while they were considered mainly as a property of slave owners. After making a few more assumptions, this amendment failed, however, this ratio was not forgotten.
In addition to tax accounting, there was the problem of calculating the number of people to determine the number of people who can be elected representatives in the House of Representatives. If the calculation were conducted relative to the total number of people living in the state, then the leaders of the slaveholding states would have an advantage. Since the slaves could not vote, the top states were more likely to nominate their representatives to the elected body. The delegates opposed to slavery suggested that only the number of free people in the states should be taken into account, with which the heads of the southern states disagreed.
After a lengthy debate on this subject, delegates agreed on a three-fifths compromise, which implied only three out of five slaves were taken into account. This compromise was beneficial for both parties since the Southern states got more seats than if only free people were taken into account but still less than if all the slaves were counted. Due to this, the Northern States received more representatives than they had before, and an agreement was reached.