|To the Editor: Special interest groups influenced Constitution|
|Written by Jack Taylor|
|Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:37|
I am writing in response to Mr. Herbert Detmer’s opinion essay which was published in the June 20 edition of the Sentinel-Tribune.
Although there are several statements and claims that he makes which are with inaccurate or specious, I will address only one.
I strongly disagree with Mr. Detmer’s opinion that, “When our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution ... There is nothing about special interest groups, corporations or loud, aggressive protesters of anything and everything.” The historical record informs us that the southern planter class was indeed a special interest group whose slave-holding interests were embedded in the Constitution.
Most likely, the Founding Fathers from the southern states protested loudly and aggressively about how to count their “slaves” when it came to determining the number of representatives they could send to Congress.
As a result of their protestations, we have the infamous 3/5ths of a person clause in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution. It reads as follows: Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among several states ... 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.
Also, Article 2, Section 9 of the Constitution maintained the interests of the planter class by allowing the importation of African slaves until the year 1808.
Furthermore, Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution allowed for the return of the slave owners’ property by declaring, “No person held in service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be do.”
Consequently, any enslaved African who was caught fleeing from the horrors of the peculiar institution in search of the freedom and independence for which our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes and honour could be returned to their master.
In closing, readers beware, just because someone references the Constitution or uses patriotic terms such as freedom, independence and Founding Fathers does not mean that their opinion is true, that is, supported by facts.
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