The following article by Ted Wendelin and Frank Palmeri confronts the long history of voter suppression in America. Frank Palmeri is a Professor of English at the University of Miami and is the author of “State of Nature, Stages of Society: Enlightenment Conjectural History and Modern Social Discourse” and Ted Wendelin is a well respected instructor at the University of Colorado, Denver. The article was originally published at History News Network. Take a look:
The South may have lost the Civil War militarily, but it won politically. For most of United States history, laws and policies that favor the South have prevailed. Originally, this hegemony was based on the Southern states’ paradoxical use of slavery to seize disproportionate power in national institutions. At the beginning of the Republic, slave states wanted to count each slave as one person for the purpose of apportioning representatives in the House.
However, slaves had no civil rights, couldn’t vote, and would not in fact be represented by those elected on this basis; the North therefore took the position that slaves should not be counted as part of the population. As a compromise,the Constitution established that each slave counted as 3/5ths of a person. This compromise in effect gave the Southern states a third more seats in Congress, and a third more electoral votes than if slaves had not been counted as persons.
Read more here.