The Articles of Confederation & Slavery

There is no mention of slavery in the articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution (Constitutional). Each state picked its own representative for Congress, so population was not an issue. There was no slavery abolition movement at the time. The national government had little power, and so representatives from 12 states met in Philadelphia to frame the Constitution (Ratification). It was decided that the House of Representatives would have membership based on population, and the Senate would have two members from each state. Under this compromise, the issue of slavery split along North/South lines. They had to decide whether or not slaves should be counted as part of the population. Under the proposed Constitution, population would determine three things:

1) how many members each state would have in the House of

2) how many electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections

3) the amount each state would pay in direct taxes to the federal government.

Only the Southern states had large numbers of slaves on whom they depended for their financial well-being. (Constit



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