History matters: The “federal government” did not end slavery

Let me introduce you to Florida Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith. While speaking to a TEA Party group, Smith claimed the founders wrote into the U.S. Constitution that he “wasn’t a man.” Smith is African American and he oversimplifies the issue by 100 fold.

He also mistakenly associates William Marbury – from Marbury v. Madison (1803) – as one of the Founding Fathers. That was just a slip of the tongue, but the “I wasn’t a man” comment and the fact he stated “the federal government had to step in because our Constitution is an imperfect document” was his major error.

Smith completely ignored the states. This was his real mistake since most of the TEA Party crowd knows the United States – at least during her early years – was exclusively a collective group of states where the states hold almost all of the government powers. The states lead the effort to implement Amendments!

The federal government had nothing to do with the changes to the Constitution. William Bigelow writes in Big Government.

…it was because of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution that the federal government did “step in”, not the other way around.

Of course, I buried the lede (the important part of this post) so keep reading please.

Let me remind the good senator about the actual creation of this Founding document. The three-fifths clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 2, Clause 3) was specific to apportionment of the House of Representatives.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, 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.

The Constitution referred to “free Persons” and “all other Persons,” not just black slaves. Why was Clause 3 written in this way? It was a compromise between the northern and southern states. In the south, the owners of slaves wanted to count the non-free as a full person for House apportionment reasons. Northern states – in part – did not want to count the non-free at all for the same reasons, and for the fact counting the non-free would encourage the importation of more slaves. It’s often argued the three-fifths clause was punishment for the south, but it was a compromise.

History actually turns Smith’s position on its head. Could you imagine a liberal like Smith going out and stating slave owners wanted to count slaves as a full person? He would be laughed out of every Democrat hall in the country.

It’s the truth, but liberals don’t reference the truth, they would rather manipulate history into a formulation they can use to “correct” the “uninformed” TEA Party faithful.

Please share this post not just with other conservatives. Share on Facebook and other social networking sites with all of your friends and family. Please ensure liberals and those who voted for President Obama get this message … we must be wiling to get out of our comfort zone and have these discussions!

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Anne-EH on December 6, 2012 at 8:52 am

    This does not surprise me. This is a “fruit” of the faulty public schools system. It took a civil war to end slavery.

  2. JBS on December 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Liberal Smith wouldn’t even bother arguing with you. You just don’t understand what “the black experience” is really about.
    The truth is just an inconvenience to them as they bend and twist history to fit their narrative.

  3. Eric on December 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    You know it’s legislators like Smith who do nothing but muddy the waters for the ill informed or uninformed, and yet these people are winning elections! ?How stupid does our electorate have to be before they realize that government schools in this country are doing a great injustice to us all? ?Lets face it… Chris Smith has a chip on his shoulder. ?He reminds me a lot of our president in this respect. ?Who can really say how a descent education may have changed his world view? ?

  4. Marilyn on December 7, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Smith, most liklly believes we are a Democracy as well.

  5. Dimsdale on December 7, 2012 at 9:09 am

    The victors write the history, and in this case, the liberals have been victorious in taking over the so called educational system.

    • Anne-EH on December 7, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Prediction: Look for a resurgence in conservative thinking which includes those who are thinkers to write books, have websites, as well as do talkradio to be with a much more independent Tea Party movement to work hard in the years ahead to take the USA back. Conservatism has become the new counter-culture movement as well as “peaceful insurgents.”

  6. Lynn on December 7, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Some states are beginning to realize, they are granted more power in the Constitution than is understood by most. Witness the states with petitions to secede from the Union. I have hope yet, just not in CT. The Charter hid in the Oak,? a reason to be proud of CT history is dead. RIP.


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