According to the original version of the Constitution, how many representatives does a state have in the House?

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There is no numerical answer that can be given for this question.  The original Constitution did not specify exactly how many representatives each state would have in the future, though it did specify how many representatives each state would have at first.  It also did not specify the size of the House of Representatives.  Instead, all it gave was some basic guidelines that would help to determine how many representatives each state would have.

Looking at Article I, we can see that the Constitution sets out the number of representatives that each of the original thirteen states would have.  New Hampshire and Georgia each got three.  Delaware and Rhode Island each got one.  New Jersey got four.  Connecticut and each of the Carolinas got five.  Maryland got six and Pennsylvania and Massachusetts got eight.

However, this was not permanent and it did not specify exactly how many representatives new states would get.  Instead, the following guidelines were laid down:

  • Each state would have at least one representative.
  • Each representative had to represent at least 30,000 people (unless a state had fewer than that number, in which case they would still get one representative).
  • The number of representatives would be proportional to the number of people in the various states.
  • All free people (and indentured servants) would be counted, “Indians not taxed” would not be counted, and “all other persons” (slaves) would each count as 3/5 of a person.

Thus, the original Constitution gave specific initial numbers for how many representatives each state would have and then set up a formula for how to apportion the House after that.

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