Conservative commentator Mark Levin made a wild claim on Wednesday: that the three-fifths compromise in the U.S. Constitution had nothing to do with slavery or white supremacy.
In an episode of LevinTV on BlazeTV, caught by Media Matters, Levin claimed that none of America’s founding documents promote white supremacy, saying that even the three-fifths compromise — which did not count African-American slaves as full individuals — was not about viewing slaves as less than human. It was merely political, he said.
“The three-fifths rule had nothing to do with promoting slavery or white supremacists,” Levin began. “The three-fifths rule was used by the free North to limit the South's power in the House of Representatives.”
“The argument was, essentially, by the northerners, you cannot treat slaves as individuals for the purpose of increasing your numbers in the House of Representatives when you don't give them the right to vote, when you treat them as property. And so they had this compromise.”
But one statement Levin makes in particular trashes his entire case: “when you treat them as property.” Slaves were treated as property, not fully human. The compromise only existed because African-Americans were treated as subhuman property. Full stop.
If that does not involve white supremacy, then what does?