The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise between Southern and Northern states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of
1787 in which three-fifths
of the enumerated population of slaves would be counted for representation
purposes regarding both the distribution of taxes and the apportionment of the
members of the United States House of Representatives. It was proposed by
delegates James Wilson and Roger Sherman.
Delegates opposed to slavery generally wished to count only the free inhabitants of each state. Delegates supportive of slavery, on the other hand, generally wanted to count slaves in their actual numbers. Since slaves could not vote, slaveholders would thus have the benefit of increased representation in the House and the Electoral College. The final compromise of counting "all other persons" as only three-fifths of their actual numbers reduced the power of the slave states relative to the original southern proposals, but increased it over the northern position.
The Three-Fifths Compromise is found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution:
“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within 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”.
"One man, one vote" (or "one person, one vote") is a slogan that has been used in many parts of the world where campaigns have arisen for universal suffrage. It became particularly prevalent in less developed countries, during the period of decolonisation and the struggles for national sovereignty from the late 1940s onwards. It was used in this form in an important legal authority in the
, the Supreme Court majority opinion
in Reynolds v. Sims, issued in 1964. United
This phrase was traditionally used in the context of demands for suffrage reform. Historically the emphasis within the House of Commons was on representing areas: counties, boroughs and, later on, universities. The entitlement to vote for the Members of Parliament representing the constituencies varied widely, with different qualifications such as owning property of a certain value, holding an apprenticeship, qualifying for paying the local-government rates, or holding a degree from the university in question. Those who qualified for the vote in more than one constituency were entitled to vote in each constituency, whilst many adults did not qualify for the vote at all. Plural voting was also present in local government, whereby the owners of business property qualified for votes in the relevant wards.
Over time reformers argued that Members of Parliament and other elected officials should represent citizens equally, and that each voter should only be entitled to exercise the vote once in an election. Successive Reform Acts both extended the franchise eventually to almost all adult citizens (barring convicts, lunatics and members of the House of Lords) and also reduced and finally eliminated most of the plural voting by 1950 for both Westminster and local-government elections. However there were two significant exceptions.
The City of
never expanded its boundaries and with many residential dwellings being
replaced by businesses and the impact of The Blitz there were barely five
thousand residents in the entirety of the country's financial district after
the Second World War. The system of plural voting was retained for electing the
City of London
Corporation with some modifications. London
came into being, it adopted the same political system which was in place at
that time for the Westminster Parliament and British local government. However,
the Parliament of Northern Ireland did not follow Northern Ireland in changes to the franchise, with
the result that into the 1960s property plural voting still existed for both
Parliament and local government. There has been much debate as to what extent
the franchise for local government contributed to unionist electoral success in
controlling councils in nationalist majority areas. When the Northern Ireland
Civil Rights Association came into being in 1967, it had five primary demands.
An additional demand which became just as important was that every citizen in Westminster
be afforded the same number of votes for elections. The slogan "one man,
one vote" became a rallying cry for the campaign. Northern Ireland
Along with four of the five primary demands, the voting system was updated by the Parliament of Northern Ireland and came into effect for the next election which, strikingly, took place after the suspension of the
government. Northern Ireland
The US Constitution requires a decennial census for the purpose of assuring a fair distribution of seats in the US House of Representatives, and this has generally occurred without incident, with the exception of the 1920 Census. However, once the practice developed of electing said representatives from districts drawn from within the state, rather than electing them at-large, the question arose as to whether or not the state legislature (which had responsibility for drawing these congressional districts) was required to see that said districts were equal in population.
Some states redrew their US House districts every ten years; many did not. Some never redrew them, except when it was mandated by a change in the number of seats to which that state was entitled in the House of Representatives. This led to a disproportionality in the influence of voters across the states. For example, if the 2nd congressional district eventually had a population of 1.5 million, but the 3rd had only 500,000, then, in effect—since each district elected the same number of congressmen—a voter in the 3rd district had three times the voting "power" of a 2nd-district voter.
Additionally, in most
states, electoral districts for seats in the upper house or Senate were
ostensibly created at least partially on the basis of geography, rather than
population. Whereas lower house seats might or might not be reapportioned on a decennial
basis, such as those of the US House of Representatives, in most states, state
senate district boundaries were never redrawn. As the US
became more urban, this led to the dilution of the votes of urban voters when
casting ballots for state senate seats. A city dweller's vote had less
influence on the make-up of the state legislature than did a rural
inhabitant's. United States
In various reapportionment cases decided by the Supreme Court in the 1960s, notably Wesberry v. Sanders, Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr, the court ruled that districts for the United States House of Representatives and for the legislative districts of both houses of state legislatures had to contain roughly equal populations.
(The US Senate was not affected by these rulings, as its makeup was explicitly established in the
Constitution.). The cases concerning malapportionment ended the pattern of
gross rural overrepresentation and urban underrepresentation in the US House
and state legislatures. Eventually the rulings were extended over local (city)
districts as well, as in Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris. US