On this evening’s [1-6-11] TV show, Glenn Beck informed his listening audience that when the Constitution was read today in the House, the three fifths clause was left out because it was “offensive”. He went on to draw a connection between slavery and the three fifths clause and mentioned it was adopted to “dismantle slavery“. There is no question that the three fifths clause acted as a penalty for slave holding states in that it denied slave holding states representation in Congress proportionally equal to their population size because only 3/5th of a state‘s slave population would be counted in allocating a State’s number of Representatives. However, if Glenn Beck wanted to point to a provision specifically intended to help “dismantle slavery” that provision would not be the 3/5ths clause but rather, Article 1, SECTION 9: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
So, what was the primary reason for which our founders adopted the 3/5ths clause and more importantly why did Congress not read this provision? I believe there is a logical reason and Glenn Beck’s crack research team may be sleeping on the job! Let me explain.
Each member of the House upon assuming their office is given a copy of the “House Rules and Manual”, in which the Constitution appears. And when we get to the 3/5ths clause of the Constitution in the House Manual, on the side of the page we find a note which reads ***“The old provision for apportionment of Representatives and direct taxation”***. And beneath the 3/5th clause another note appears which reads “The part of this clause relating to the mode of apportionment of Representatives was changed after the Civil War by section 2 of the fourteenth amendment and as to taxes on incomes without apportionment, by the sixteenth amendment. And this is probably why the 3/5th provision was not read, because the House Manual says the provision is “changed“. So why read it if its changed? But this is where the big lie begins, right in the “House Rules and Manual” given to every member of Congress! Please note that my edition of the House Manual is 1983, so there may be slight differences in today’s manual from the wording I quoted. But I’m sure the gist is the same!
Now, let us look at some irrefutable facts. The only thing which changed with the adoption of the 14th Amendment with regard to the mode of apportionment of Representatives is that, each state’s “whole number of persons” are to be counted as opposed to the former “three fifths of all other persons”.
And with regard to “direct taxes” as contained in the three fifths clause, nothing was changed by the adoption of the 16th Amendment! The 16th Amendment does not mention “direct taxes” nor does its language make any attempt to repeal Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4, which declares in clear language: No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
In addition, our very own Supreme Court has repeatedly confirmed the 16th Amendment does not repeal the constitutional requirement that “direct taxes” are to be apportioned among the states, e.g., see Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189, 206 (1920) in which the Court states in crystal clear language with regard to the 16th Amendment: ***“[T]his amendment shall not be extended by loose construction, so as to repeal or modify, except as applied to income, those provisions of the Constitution that require an apportionment according to population for direct taxes…This limitation still has an appropriate and important function, and is not to be overridden by Congress or disregarded by the courts.” *** Also see BROMLEY VS MCCAUGHN, 280 U.S. 124 (1929) decided nine years after MACOMBER : “As the present tax is not apportioned, it is forbidden, if direct.”
So, why is there an attempt in the House Manual suggesting to new members of Congress that the rule requiring direct taxes to be apportioned is changed by the 16th Amendment? And why was the 3/5th clause not read today?
Unlike Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4, which simple says direct taxes shall be apportioned, the 3/5th Clause which was not read, has language which is very clear and specifically ties “direct taxes” and each state’s number of allotted “representatives” in Congress to a formula. Considering subsequent amendments to our Constitution the formula for determine each State’s number of Representatives is:
s Pop. __________ X House membership (435) = States No.of Reps
Pop. of U.S.
And, the formula for determining each State’s share of any general tax laid among the states as intended by our founding fathers would be:
s pop. ___________ X SUM TO BE RAISED = STATES SHARE OF TAX
Total U.S. Pop.
The fact is, progressives, especially in California, New York, and other States with large progressive populations, hate the rule of apportionment as applied to taxation! They want their one man one vote part of the Constitution, but when it comes time to filling the national treasury in a general tax among the states intended to be governed by one vote one dollar, they do everything imaginable to avoid representation with proportional obligation, and why they have doctored the House Manual to suggest to new members to Congress that apportionment of direct taxes is no longer in effect, and thus, why the provision was probably not read today which declares Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union
In summary, our founding fathers intended for Congress to raise its revenue from imposts and duties at our water’s edge, and if these taxes were found insufficient Congress was to then lay and collect miscellaneous inland excise taxes on specifically chosen articles of consumption. And if the above taxes were all found insufficient and Congress borrowed to meet its expenses, then Congress was supposed to lay and collect a general direct tax among the states to make up the shortfall, and each state‘s share in making up the shortfall was to be determined by the rule of apportionment!
With all the talk about balancing the budget and dealing with an annual deficit, keep in mind if the direct tax were followed as intended, annual deficits would be immediately extinguished with an apportioned tax, and every State‘s Congressional Delegation would have to return home with a Bill for the Governor and State‘s Legislatures to pay. Perhaps this is another reason why the 3/5th Clause was not read … someone might get curious and research what was the founder’s intentions with regard to “direct taxation” found in the 3/5ths Clause…
“The proportion of taxes are fixed by the number of inhabitants, and not regulated by the extent of the territory, or fertility of soil” 3 Elliot’s, 243, ***“Each state will know, from its population, its proportion of any general tax” ***3 Elliot’s, 244 ___ Mr. George Nicholas, during the ratification debates of our Constitution.