In their attempt to keep the colonies united so they could succeed in the War for Independence, our Founding Fathers put the discussion of slavery off until a future time.
Either the Northern or Southern colonies would have pulled out if an anti-slavery plank had been in the Declaration of Independence, and the vote did not go according to their liking.
When writing the Constitution it was clear that the southern states would not ratify it if it eliminated slavery, but the northern states would also have a problem if slavery was ignored. So, a compromise was reached that a slave would be equal to 3/5 of a human being because the southern states had the advantage of bringing the work on the Constitution to a halt and stopping the country just as it was beginning.
Not only was this wrong when it came to treating people as property and less than the humans they were, it had another pernicious effect when it came to taxation and the number of representatives from each state as that was to be determined by population.
Whereas the slaves got no benefit from their humanity, the southern states got majority representation in Congress as the slaves were counted as people for that purpose, since, although considered chattel, every five slaves equaled three people.
And, even though they were considered property by the South, their being 3/5 human meant they could not be counted as property for the purposes of taxation.
In the North, chattel remained chattel, so five cows equaled five cows, not three people, and so did not help determine representation, and as property were taxed.
The South had a loophole that gave it an advantage in representation while avoiding having to pay their fair share of federal taxes, but had an excuse to get much back.
So, slaves played into the economy and representation of the southern states without any benefit to themselves.
Much of the early years of the United States and the policies and laws decided then were controlled by the South. What would become the Confederate States effectively ran the country.
Even though the Southern States had fewer people able to vote and should have had representation based on the free population, the non-voting slaves gave them a representational advantage.
Clearly, the South needed slavery to have the influence it enjoyed.
After the Civil war, while the population of the South increased because freed slaves were now whole people, obstructing the Black vote and finding ways to limit it to Whites only became a concern.
Their number of representatives might have increased with each freeman being a whole person instead of a fraction of one, but the White people lost a certain degree of control over who their representatives might be as can be seen by the number of freed slaves who were elected to Congress in the years immediately following the Civil War.
Poll taxes and carefully designed literacy tests applied only to Black voters gave the Southern Whites an advantage until such things were done away with. They gave themselves the ability to control who was voting.
Since convicted felons counted toward representation, but could not vote, and in order to get back to a slave dependent economy, it became useful to have laws that would guarantee that many freed slave s could be convicted of crimes that would render them unable to vote while being in a position to be counted toward representation, and who, while being prisoners, were put to work on farms and infrastructure for no pay. Hence, the reason for chain gangs.
This practice was eventually eliminated, until the modern prisons for profit scheme came into play, and along with this we now have fabricated voter fraud which has had the same Southern states changing eligibility requirements like voter IDs that are very specific in what IDs are acceptable, changing and reducing the number of polling places, and curtailing early voting opportunities.
Blacks can still vote, but the number of those voters can be reduced by making voting and proving identity as difficult as possible. A Black student with a student ID, but without a driver’s license, has a harder time getting to vote than a White person with a gun license who also does not drive.
It is also obvious that most of the obstruction toward anything that President Obama has attempted comes from Southern Senators and Congressmen.
The South may have lost the Civil War in the conventional sense, but during reconstruction the victors conceded quite a bit to them, and turned blind eyes to what was done by the White upper class. What they could not win on the battle field, they would try to win in the halls of D.C., and this included spreading their class divisions country wide, and in so doing, and by necessity to make the strategy work, turning Americans against Americans and creating equality not from building the country and conditions up, but by tearing them down so that all citizens would be equally poor, uneducated, ill, and easily led.
Consider that because of the Civil War, which was based on Constitutional equality and being part of the United States, they lost their ability to subjugate one certain class, and by electing Republicans to do it for them through legislation, the Old South spread it’s negative attitude toward one group to include interracial marriage, women’s right to vote, civil rights, voting rights, women’s right to choose their reproductive health, and Gay rights.
And while President Obama could have done much to straighten out the mess this country had become, the obstruction he had to deal with came from Representatives and Senators from the Old South.
Perhaps, as the Southern States attempt to use the threat of secession to get what they want, they should be let go, and as they have been most vocal about it, will respect our borders and not attempt to enter the remaining Unites States illegally.
Oh, and they will need to give all the stuff back that the rest of us gave them through taxes like military installations and equipment, and reimburse us for such things as roads, bridges, and federal building.