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Great Moments in Census History: The Three-Fifths Compromise

May 25th, 2010 by todd merriman

Hey Americans, it’s 2010. That means there’s another form to fill out in addition to your tax extension– the Census.

If you think a Census is just an inconvenience that wasn’t in the Founding Fathers’ vision for this great land of ours, think again! The first Congress established a process for counting every American to determine a states’ number of representatives, figure budgets and score digits from any hot chick gullible enough to put them on the form. The first census was taken in 1790 and has followed every 10 years since. Its methods have never been above controversy, as seen in these transcripts of the Congressional record in the year 1787.

Thomas Jefferson: I just don’t see what business it is of the government’s how many slaves I have. The form might as well ask how many horses I have, or chickens.

Benjamin Franklin: Sir, you’re talking about people.

Jefferson: Mr. Washington, may I approach the bench?

George Washington: Counsels, come forward.

Franklin and Jefferson walk to the bench.

Jefferson (whispering): You see, the thing is, I designed this dome — No, designed is too strong a word, doodled really. Anyway, Martha just fell in love with it and wants it put on the house, so we’re really depending on our next few harvests to fund it and if we count slaves as people, well, we just wrote this whole thing about what he have to give people — it could really leave me in a spot. You know what I mean.

Washington: Precisely.

Franklin: That’s not the problem of these United States.

Roger Sherman: Mr. Washington, if I may…

Washington: The chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from Connecticut.

Jafferson: Who the hell are you?

Sherman: Roger Sherman, Connecticut. I helped you write the Declaration of Independence.

Jefferson: If you say so.

Sherman: Tom, have you ever had sex with any of your horses?

Jefferson: Objection!

Sherman: Your honor, I assure you it’s relevant.

Washington: I’ll allow it.

Sherman: Have you ever had sex with a horse?

Jefferson: No.

Sherman: What about chickens? Have you ever–

Jefferson: Sir, I am outraged at your insinuation and will have my satisfaction–

Washington: Just answer the question.

Jefferson: No.

Sherman: Why not?

Jefferson: Because that’s disgusting, an abomination. They’re animals.

Sherman: Have you ever had sex with any of your slaves?

Jefferson: I don’t have to answer that.

Washington: Who says you don’t?

Jefferson: Oh! Well, when we’re done with this, we should make a rule where we don’t have to answer questions like that.

Sherman: I’ll move on. Mr. Jefferson, is it safe to say you have never or would never commit bestiality?

Jefferson: Absolutely not.

Sherman: Well, how about we only count the slaves you’ve had sex with as people?

Franklin: Wait a minute. We only count the slaves Thomas Jefferson had sex with? That’s still not right.

Sherman: Proportionately. Assuming Mr. Jefferson has only an average hunger for sex with his slaves–

Jefferson: Less than average, I promise.

Sherman: We could say the fraction of slaves he’s had sex with over the number he has not would apply to how we count slaves in our census.

Franklin: Sounds reasonable.

Jefferson: Sure.

And that’s how the infamous three-fifths compromise was reached.

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18 Responses to “Great Moments in Census History: The Three-Fifths Compromise”

  1. Angelus Says:

    It all makes so much sense now!


  2. graveone Says:

    cant stop ROLF HALP NEED to stop… jajajajajajajajajajjajajajaja


  3. Twan Says:

    I want to believe.

    Captcha: alotof suspect – Why yes, alots are very suspicious of outsiders.


  4. kat Says:

    AHAHAHAHAHAAAA!! I love it!


  5. Timothy Covington Says:

    Skippy, big problem. If you do the actual historical research, the slave holding states wanted the slaves to count as full people (thus giving them greater representation in the federal government) and the non-slave holding states didn’t want them counted at all.
    Even if they freed all of the slaves, they would not have been able to vote in most of the states. Most states had a requirement that you had to own a sizable chunk of land (or property) in order to vote.
    You’re also ignoring the fact that Jefferson himself was troubled by the hypocrisy of owning slaves and actually sought to limit it. However, the northern shipping interests (who made a great deal of money from the slave trade) did not want on of their biggest cash cows to be eliminated.


    Willy reply on May 25th, 2010 5:43 pm:

    This isn’t the history channel, most of us probably come here for entertainment ;)


    Dave in NC reply on May 28th, 2010 8:26 am:

    THIS!!! IS!!!! SKIPPYS LIST!!!!!


    Minty reply on June 1st, 2010 12:36 pm:

    This is also not Skippy’s post. Just saying.


  6. Devil Doc Says:

    help help, I need mental floss STAT

    captcha: the regrets, yes there are many


  7. Shadowydreamer Says:

    Jeffersons a big liar anyway, everyone knows he was a chicken plucker.


    Merf reply on May 26th, 2010 11:12 pm:

    No, he was not! He was a cork soaker!


  8. M578Jockey Says:

    Tooooooo Funny!

    Well, it makes sense. Especially since the secratary to congress burned all his notes about his time in office because America couldn’t take hearing the truth about the founding fathers.


    Captcha: Than allocate – again captcha is incredibly insoghtful


  9. SPC Hyle Says:

    If you’re going to nitpick history, it’s in the bloody Constitution, a census every decade. There are plenty of good reasons a government needs to know how many people live where, taxes being one of them, and representation being another.


  10. Icehawk Says:

    There’s probably a small earthquake occurring in Charlottesville right now due to the RPMs Jefferson is making in his coffin.


  11. Catherine Says:

    It is all clear to me now. Thank you, Skippy.


  12. Andrew Says:

    (unable to come up with a way to articulate his unnatural brain patterns after readying this)


  13. Gunrunner Says:

    Congress can count this (holds up “1” finger). This “taxation with representation” ain’t so F’in great nowdays!

    Captcha = of bullying – Yo, Congress, captcha done busted yo az.
    In public! On Skippys List! Y’all be so punk’d!


  14. Dragdamar Says:

    I worked on the 2000 census and I’m currently employed with the 2010 census. This years is pretty slim compared to some if the past censuses, but it’s still too intrusive for my Libertarian leanings.

    The only information that the Constitution requires from the Census is “How many people life here?” Everything else has been invented by Congress or the Bureau of Labor to justify it’s existence.

    The Census should take about 30 days to do, instead legions of bureaucrats get 10 times the money I make year round just to create new Census paperwork so they can keep themselves in jobs. Fire the lot of them and have a real Census that doesn’t waste billions of dollars every year to keep some ones idiot cousin employed.


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