Discuss the problem American policy makers faced when founding the American republic regarding slavery in the late 1700s.

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There were some issues to resolve regarding slavery when the men gathered to write the new Constitution in 1787. These issues were very important to the North and the South.

One issue was how should slaves be counted for the purpose of establishing the population of a state. Since the number of people determines the number of representatives a state has in the House of Representatives, this was a significant issue to resolve. The North didn’t want slaves to count at all. The South wanted to count every slave. Fortunately, a compromise was reached. It was called the Three-Fifths Compromise. Every five slaves would be counted as three people.

Another issue to decide was what should be done with the slave trade. There was some thought that slave trading should be banned. They agreed Congress would not ban slave trading until at least 1808. Slavery presented some challenges to our policy-makers in the late 1700s.

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