Birth Certificate just Jim Crow all Over Again

There isn’t actually any mystery about the phenomenon of birtherism, the denial that Barack Obama is a US citizen and has a right to vote and hold office, or why obnoxious billionaire Donald Trump is resorting to it in his farce of a presidential bid.

Birthers are concentrated in former slaver, former Jim Crow states, which were forced to stop legal discrimination against African-Americans by the intervention of the Federal government from the 1960s, but many of whom retain a commitment to race and caste hierarchies as a way of ordering their societies.

A “Research 2000” opinion poll for Daily Kos, conducted 7/27-30, 2009, discovered the geography of this myth:

‘Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not? [I am showing here poll results for “no” and not sure only – JC:]…

…No 11
Not sure 12

So 11 percent of Americans are Obama-hating conspiracy theorists. How do they break down?

………No… Not sure

Rep …28… 30
Ind ……8…. 9
Dem ….4…. 3

South ….23… 30
Midwest …6…. 4
West ……..7…. 6
Northeast 4…. 3 …’

The South can be defined as: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, and South Carolina, which, save for Texas, Florida and Virginia, is still distinctive in having very low rates of interracial marriage despite having high minority populations:

interracial marriage US 2000

Interracial Marriage, US, 2000

Interracial marriage in Minnesota and Vermont is also rare. But 1/3 of South Carolinians are African-American, and in 2000, only 3.5% of Minnesotans were.

African Americans in the US, 2000

African Americans in the US, 2000

That is, to see the full extent of caste as it operates in the American South, super-impose these two maps on one another.

My guess is that interracial marriage in Texas and Florida is between people of northern European heritage and those of Latino heritage, not with African-Americans in the main; Virginia is skewed by Northern Virginia, which is like the Northeast. African-Americans marrying whites accounts for 11% of interracial marriages nation-wide, but the South clearly lags here.

Low rates of interracial marriage despite high rates of racial diversity map on to prejudice and concerns about racial status. And it is precisely the intersection of these two things that predicts where birthers will be found disproportionately.

Let us compare this geography of the denial to an African-American of the right to vote and hold office on grounds of unclear ‘citizenship’ to the remarks of James M. Nabrit, Jr. in his 1939 journal article, “Disabilities Affecting Suffrage Among Negroes,” The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 8, No. 3, (Jul., 1939), pp. 383-394, this quote on p. 384:

‘It is interesting to note that the states which enjoy the most unhampered exercise of the right of suffrage and impose the fewest number of restrictions are the states which are furthest advanced economically, educationally, and socially; whereas the ten states, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, which have hinged the right of suffrage around and about by numerous restrictions such as reading and understanding tests of state and national constitutions, property qualifications (both real and personal), racial discriminations in registration, are those states of which the President [Roosevelt] asked that a study be made of their economic conditions, since they constitute, in his words, the “number one economic problem in the United States…” ‘

he adds:

“Although registration laws, poll-tax requirements, and reading and understanding constitution clauses have been upheld by the courts as reasonable exercise of legislative power for the purpose of preserving the purity of the ballot, the history of suffrage legislation in the South shows these provisions were not enacted for that pur- pose, but were designed solely to exclude Negroes from exercising the right to vote guaranteed them by the prohibition in the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Indeed, when you bring up the idea of citizenship and the laws around it, it should be remembered that neither citizenship nor right to vote for African-Americans were considered in the early history of American naturalization law (see Charles H. Wesley, “Negro Suffrage in the Period of Constitution-Making, 1787-1865,” The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr., 1947), pp. 143-168, this quote on 152-153:)

‘ The first Naturalization Law of the United States, which was approved by Congress on March 26, 1790, bestowed citizenship as a matter of right and established a uniform law. It granted this right to “free white” aliens who had resided within the jurisdiction of the United States for two years. This period of residence was lengthened to five years in 1795. The Militia Law of 1792 also contained the word “white.” The act to incorporate the District of Columbia of May 5, 1802, confined the franchise to “free white male inhabitants.” These acts and others indicate that Congressional trends were towards the restriction of citizenship to free white males. This explains in part also why no action is to be found providing for Negro suffrage. Nevertheless, the paradox of citizenship interpretation was still apparent, for a resolution of the House of Representatives on December 21, 1803, stated that the Committee to enquire and report on the effectual protection of Ameri- can seamen, resolved also “to enquire into the expediency of granting protection to such American seamen citizens of the United States, as are free persons of color.” While giving on the one hand some credence to the concept of citizenship for some, there was still the negation of suffrage participation.” ‘

Trump has gone on now to question Barack Obama’s intellectual credentials, which is sort of like Woody Allen questioning whether Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually physically powerful. He now wants undergraduate grade transcripts.

Late night talk show host David Letterman called this tactic what it is, racism.

Questioning whether an African-American can vote and hold office based on his academic accomplishments is again a way of pandering to residual Jim Crow sentiments.

The Georgia State constitution, Dr. Nabrit informed us in 1939, then had the following provision for ability to vote in that state:

‘ . All persons who can correctly read in the English Language any paragraph of the Constitution of the United States, of this state and correctly write the same in the English language when read to them by one of the registrars and all persons who solely because of physical disability are unable to comply with the above requirements but who can understand and give reasonable in- terpretation of any paragraph of the Constitution of the United States or of this State that may be read to them by any one of the registrars;

Just so the test could be targeted to the intended subset of would-be voters, the constitution further provided that:

‘F. Section 34-111 (44) Race to be noted in book. For the purpose of more easily identifying Voters, the officers in charge of the Voters’ book shall note therein, in connection with each signa- ture, the race of the person signing- that is to say, whether white or colored?

Trump is following the Karl Rove handbook, wherein you don’t smear your opponent where he is weak, you demean him where he is strong. Obama is the most cerebral president since Woodrow Wilson, so Trump-Rove (TRove?) decries him as an undeserving affirmative action baby. But where it gets really ugly is that Trump is playing to Old South conceptions of racial discrimination in voting and office-holding.

Posted in Uncategorized | 36 Responses | Print |

36 Responses

  1. Obama is the most cerebral president since Woodrow Wilson?

    Really? I like the guy a lot. I voted for him and absolutely respect his intelligence as first rate among presidents. I also agree with your argument in general about what the Republicans are trying to do to him.

    But it seems to me that either Carter of Clinton give Obama a run for his money in the cerebral department, and your rhetorical flourish above diminishes the rest of your argument.

    It’s like saying Larry Bird was a cerebral player and Magic Johnson was an athletic one. It simultaneously diminishes Bird’s athleticism and Johnson’s knowledge of the game and basketball IQ. At the end of the day, both were just great players, with a multiplicity of skills, capable of leading their team to a championship.

    The same is true of both Clinton and Obama. If anything, Carter seems like the most one-dimensionally cerebral of the three, although I’ve certainly worried on more than one occasion that Obama will end up the African American Jimmy Carter of the new millennium: a principled, one term president who ends up accomplishing more after leaving office than he did while holding it.

    It seems like what you really mean is that Obama is the first president since Wilson who spent a significant part of his professional career working inside academia. But being the most professorial president since Wilson isn’t the same as being the most cerebral.

  2. [Trump has gone on now to question Barack Obama’s intellectual credentials, which is sort of like Woody Allen questioning whether Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually physically powerful.]

    Woody Allen cannot humiliate and blackmail which is Trump’s main goal. But brothers Marx certainly know quite a lot about games like this: link to

  3. Juan, these statistics you’re putting side by side are bullshit. Sure, interracial marriage in California is high, but who’s that between? That’s Asians and Whites. Interracial marriage between Whites and Blacks in California is just as low (lower?) than it is throughout the South. Comparing White–Non-White marriage rights to White–Black population distributions are meaningless, and I think that you, ostensibly an academic, understand that. Further, we have updated statistics on these matters (interracial marriage, racial population breakdowns) thanks to the new Census, and it’s incredibly detailed — why are you trotting out these outdated statistics? It’s hard to take this seriously.

    • Hi, DB. Actually, no. Among interracial marriages nation-wide, 11% are between whites and African-Americans, and those are occurring in places like California and the Northeast. The rate *is* higher in California than in Alabama, even though the opportunities are *much* greater in Alabama.

      The new census hasn’t produced easy to find graphics on the web yet, and since censuses are only done every 10 years, depending on the last one isn’t very out of date for big demographic movements.

  4. I have to add some more. You say the South “maintains racial and caste hierarchies as a way of ordering their societies,” and to support it, you point to interracial marriage statistics (which, as I wrote above, are meaningless as you’ve portrayed them). How about some other evidence? First, what about racial populations as compared state-by-state. The fact that Maine has almost no Blacks in it, you think is an exculpating fact? Maybe it’s inculpating? Why do YOU think that no Blacks want to live in Maine? Further, as anyone who pays attention to these things knows, there’s currently a mass movement from Blacks living in the North to the South (some call it the “Reverse Great Migration”). How do you account for that? Also, what about residential segregation? Again, as anybody who pays attention to these things knows, residential segregation is lowest in the South. Compare almost any Southern state to almost any Northern one. Third, how about educational segregation? Segregation in public schools is far higher in the North than the South. In fact, the NAACP LDF intentionally targeted Southern states for their public interest desegregation litigation campaign, in fear that Northern judges would simply be unwilling to take any action. They were right. Others targeted Northern states, leading to the end of courts entertaining these cases. Compare Swann (Charlotte, North Carolina; approving busing) to Milliken (Detroit, Michigan; disapproving busing). In fact, compare housing segregation and public education segregation in Charlotte and Detroit. Really, this whole post is a joke. As an ostensible academic, I expect more from you.

    • You’re just being silly. African-Americans are predominately located in former slave states because they were imported there in huge numbers as commodities. They weren’t imported to Maine, and Maine has no large industries that would pull labor up there. The great French social historian, Fernand Braudel, pointed out that over time, whole populations do not move around all that much in modern times.

      • If you insist on ignoring all the evidence I presented that you’re a fool speaking insulting nonsense, and want to focus solely on (i) interracial marriage, and (ii) lack of black folk in Maine, at least check out this chart on interracial marriage:

        link to

        Interracial marriage is is a lot higher in the “South” than the “Northeast,” much higher than the “Midwest,” and is comparable (albeit lower) than in the “West.” Hmm.

    • The South has a significant and growing and increasingly aroused minority that claims Lincoln was an evil tyrant (Texas’ Ron Paul and presumably his faux-Kentucky son), that FDR was un-American (Texas governor Rick Perry), and that the KKK monster Strom Thurmond would have saved America from “these problems we’re having” (the former Senate Majority Leader from Mississippi). These are the people we must condemn, but they have friends everywhere in the Southern power structure, who in turn have allies everywhere else in America who see the old Jim Crow South as a moral model for our children’s future. Doesn’t this scare the Hell out of you?

      The African-American opinion of the South’s ideology is neatly shown: when Southern whites were Democrats, blacks tried to be Republicans; when the Democrats were willing to negotiate with the Civil Rights movement, those blacks became Democrats and those whites became Republicans in only a decade, with Nixon’s Southern Strategy completely transforming the GOP. The KKK endorsed Barry Goldwater in 1964, a sort of passing of the torch.

  5. I was surprised to see that you recognized how Northern Virginia skews the demographics of the rest of VA. As a resident of the area, I can tell you that I don’t feel I’m in the same state when I go to Richmond.

  6. You’re right about birthers and Jim Crow, of course– as I hope you’re right about the hopes of the Arab Spring– but you probably shouldn’t be citing a Research 2000 poll as evidence of anything: there’s good reason to believe that Research 2000 was sometimes fraudulent, and some reason to believe they were a fake company that simply made up their polls. See, for example, link to and link to among other reporting.

    • There are other polls from Southern states by other outfits that confirm these findings.

  7. We’ve been miseducated about the nature of Jim Crow. The point was not water fountains or seating on buses. The key laws did not specify race, yet always eliminated types of voter likely to be black, and often poor whites as well. All the other laws were made possible by this first victory in scaring blacks away from the polls.

    The Bush Administration had already become a clearing house for the new Jim Crow. Check out the career of GOP operative Hans von Spakovsky, who went from organizing “anti-vote fraud” campaigns designed to make blacks fear they’d be arrested at the polling place if their papers weren’t in order, to a job at the Dept of Justice that’s supposed to stamp out this very activity!

    But of course, how dare we say that these new laws are racist. That’s just as racist as saying a literacy test or a grandfather law is racist! Because surely you liberals don’t want to imply that blacks and Latinos have some greater reason to fear scrutiny of their paperwork, that they’re criminal races or something…

    Doubtless the exact same poison that they used to impose Jim Crow the first time. White people in the Sunbelt can see the racial makeup change all around them; they hear the dogwhistles and they can decide quietly for themselves that they will save America by purging the electorate of inferior, welfare-loving races. No one can prove anything.

    Which is why Trump’s campaign is laughable. Birtherism works because of its tie to the idea that blacks and Latinos are to blame for Big Government, an idea that an urban Yankee like Trump dare not even dogwhistle, while a rural Christian extremist like Palin or Huckabee can send the message simply by the company they keep. The Tea Party needs birthers who are genuinely committed to the rest of the agenda: the restoration of America to exactly the legal system of 1789, with no voting by non-whites or the poor or running for office by non-Christians (Palin has still not explained why her Original Intentism doesn’t apply to women, though).

    And the proof of all this – look up the recent history of the movement to abolish the 14th Amendment, and who was involved as it moved from the fringes of the militia movement to the lips of GOP officeholders.

  8. The important question isn’t whether the Birthers are motivated mainly by racism, xenophobia, and reactionary ideology (they are); it’s whether we should trust any public official about anything (we shouldn’t).

    Our political system is so dominated by dirty money that we’d be fools not to insist on verification for everything a politician says.

    Next up: let’s see DNA tests to establish the parentage of the youngest Palin child.

    (Unless a candidate runs on the free-love ticket, I want to know about his/her private life.)

  9. Excellent analysis. Trump’s dragging of education into his racist attack is especially tactless given the history of Southern white opposition to education for African-Americans. Robert J. Norrell’s recent biography of Booker T. Washington, “Up From History,” does an excellent job of describing the ruthlessness with which whites in the South tried to prevent the education of people of color by denying funding to their “separate but equal” schools. And then whites turned around and denied African Americans the right to vote because they couldn’t read? Sounds kind of like Tea Party logic.

    • And after the people of color left the South and moved to, say, Detroit — a city in Juan’s home state — how were they greeted?

  10. What most amazes me is that you americans still perform racial statistics and have racial boxes to tick in nearly every paper form.

    Black OR African-American?! Are there any difference?

  11. The California skew is attributable in large part to the white boy/Asian girl (esp. Filipina girl) phenomenon which exploded onto the stage of love a decade or two ago.

    In the late ’80s and early ’90s this was refered to as “liking rice” and this was a somewhat neutral, not insulting expression. In fact, on many CA colege/university campuses capturing an Asian girl was something of a symbol of prowess and/or status for young men. One must admit that the women are often quite lovely.

    (I have no idea what goes on now in the affairs of the heart among the 18-25 crowd in CA.)

    • The California skew is attributable not just to white-Asian unions but to intermarriage across many boundaries, including white-Latino, Asian-Latino, etc. This is what a non-caste society with a lot of ethnic groups looks like. It is the South that is weird.

      • And I can tell you from here in Texas that the hatred of California is vast, violent and implacable. The hypocrisy of condemning CA’s debt crisis by people who voted for Rick Perry, a man who broke his state’s own unemployment fund by cutting business taxes for it and then took a Federal bailout to fix it. What we really need is a sodium pentathol test to find out how many Texans are willing to send gays, blacks, Latinos, Moslems, Californians and the poor to death camps – I’ve certainly heard such sentiments expressed in several Houston workplaces and never criticized.

  12. (1) Given the Black population of the South, which you pointed out–are the pollsters only asking Whites, or do Blacks in the South share the Birther mentality?
    (2) You are right about California; while race consciousness is not entirely absent, it is as minimal here as anyplace I have been in the US, including Hawaii. My wife calls it “la-la land,” and my daughter was stunned by not only the racism but the pervasive awareness of race when she went to college in New York.

  13. I’m sure that the knuckle draggers have some racial animus but let’s not forget that the question of McCain’s eligibility was raised by reason of his birth in that outpost of Empire, Panama.

    Of course, for those who can read there hasn’t been a Constitutionally eligible President since Zachary Taylor.

    “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; ”

    He was the last one who qualified.

    Comma’s matter!

    • The question of McCain’s eligibility based on his birth in Panama was raised–and Senate Democrats introduced, and passed, a Senate resolution affirming his eligibility on the grounds that the Founders couldn’t have intended to exclude from eligibility the children of serving military personnel.

      John Boehner, OTOH, while claiming not to be a birther himself, isn’t willing to tell House Republicans who are pushing birtherism (and pushing birther legislation in the House) to knock it off. Also, quite a few states around the country, with GOP legislatures, are passing or attempting to pass birther legislation.

      That’s quite a large difference between Democratic attitudes towards McCain, and Republican attitudes towards Obama. Pretending otherwise isn’t fooling anyone.

  14. Based on anecdotal experience, my view is that a visceral dislike of blacks is very common throughout the US. Walk into almost any bar and join a group of white males, make some disparaging jokes about blacks, or say jokingly that you just ran over one in parking lot, and you’ll get a free beer.

    Just anecdotal, other experiences may vary.

    I think the South’s experience was more like that of a colonial society where the relationship between the whites (colonials) and the blacks (natives) was based on a rigid economic and social structure. No need for racial hatred because absolute racial superiority, was satisfying enough.

  15. Woodrow Wilson was cerebral? He was pushed into the WH in 1912 by Republican bankers splitting the vote with a fake new party candidate, knowing that Wilson would be more pliable, as indeed he was. First the Federal Reserve Bank Law gave the private bankers control of the nation’s money, then the loans to UK and France for WW1, and all the ups and downs ever since. Look at the USA now!
    Cerebral? A pawn, like Obama.

    • You’re saying that America has been Hell since 1912? Are you forgetting what this country accomplished in-between? We were a vastly more powerful country in 1945, or even 1940, than during the laissez-faire racist paradise that libertarians, neo-confederates and theocrats endlessly rhapsodize. Thanks to the GI Bill, America became the leader in world arts, music, literature and architecture – the Bill gave many working-class veterans a chance at a liberal arts education they couldn’t afford before or since. By the start of the 1970s, the wage gap between blacks and whites was down to only 10%. Union workingmen could provide for their families with a single wage. For a while, homeless and hunger nearly disappeared. The entire world was in fact in an economic boom after WW2, made possible by both Cold War competition and the Bretton Woods pact that ended currency speculation, imposed by FDR during WW2 as part of his super-program to prevent the global depressions that made Hitler inevitable.

      Read Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” for the story of how this civilization was murdered abroad by the sponsors of Milton Freidman, aided by Reagan who also laid the ideological foundation for the current Shock Doctrine USA. Note that American wages have been in decline since about 1980.

      It wasn’t just the banks, it’s the entire capitalist class exploiting our loss of collective memory of the Hell of life under laissez-faire, repackaging it as the hip new “Contract With America” and now again as “Reclaiming our Country” (from the mud races). They make big short-term profits by crushing the unions, brainwashing us into vast consumer debt, and dismantling all our public goods to buy themselves tax cuts, and if things get worse in the long run, they claim the solution lies in turning the clock back even further to the past!

  16. I appreciate your opinions. Truly, I do. Again, I have to disagree.

    I think that you are trying to insinuate that our founders wrote the constitution in favor of slavery. However, I have come to find, and correct me if I’m wrong, that our founders wrote the beloved constitution without a single mention of slavery. If they were to have made a decision on the issue of slavery, either the north or the south would have been against the ratification of the constitution. If that is the case, God forbid that we were to do something without political backing and in the name of ‘morale’. However, you choose to define that is purely your choice.

    I think it is wrong to attack Trump directly. Granted, he is an idiot, but I think if we are to attack Trump for racism then we should attack every politician who is motivated by racial discrimination. I’d say there is definitely more than one. Furthermore, if we are going to attack him for Obama’s sake, then we need to publicly attack each and every person that has ever taken a disliking to our President due to race.

    We are a nation full of ignorant Americans. We take an uninformed stance on an issue blindly because we are Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc. We vote in a direction because we are influenced by others. Rarely, do we see people sit down to inform themselves of the issues. So how do you expect our society as a whole to rise above and see anything other than skin color? Our whole lives have been taught in prejudice.

    In summation, I’m trying to say: How can you attack groups of people, or Donald trump, for something that society has taught them? When society has yet made an effort to correct the immorality that its people have learned.

    • “Clause 1: The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.”

      link to

      What do you suppose that is referring to?

    • Society tried to teach me to think like Trump does. I chose to think differently.

    • @ Cherish “However, I have come to find, and correct me if I’m wrong, that our founders wrote the beloved constitution without a single mention of slavery.” You’re wrong

      Slavery is seen in the Constitution in a few key places. The first is in the Enumeration Clause, where representatives are apportioned. Each state is given a number of representatives based on its population – in that population, slaves, called “other persons,” are counted as three-fifths of a whole person. This compromise was hard-fought, with Northerners wishing that slaves, legally property, be uncounted, much as mules and horses are uncounted. Southerners, however, well aware of the high proportion of slaves to the total population in their states, wanted them counted as whole persons despite their legal status. The three-fifths number was a ratio used by the Congress in contemporary legislation and was agreed upon with little debate.

      In Article 1, Section 9, Congress is limited, expressly, from prohibiting the “Importation” of slaves, before 1808. The slave trade was a bone of contention for many, with some who supported slavery abhorring the slave trade. The 1808 date, a compromise of 20 years, allowed the slave trade to continue, but placed a date-certain on its survival. Congress eventually passed a law outlawing the slave trade that became effective on January 1, 1808.

      The Fugitive Slave Clause is the last mention. In it, a problem that slave states had with extradition of escaped slaves was resolved. The laws of one state, the clause says, cannot excuse a person from “Service or Labour” in another state. The clause expressly requires that the state in which an escapee is found deliver the slave to the state he escaped from “on Claim of the Party.”

      link to

    • Trump does not believe in the things he says when he gets in front of a camera. Birtherism was simply the thing he chose to grab to get attention.

      But there are millions out there who WANT to believe that Obama is a foreigner, because they wanted a reason not to accept the 2008 election outcome. There are millions out there who want to believe that whites should have a monopoly on power, that the only minorities that are Real Americans are the ones who happen to agree with white conservatives on every single matter so that letting them vote is in no way a form of power-sharing, that the moment minority voting becomes large enough to tip an election, excuses should be found to ban them from voting or holding office. People who hold those beliefs rarely admit it openly, but logically convince themselves of other beliefs that they openly advocate to obtain the same ends: that ACORN was a giant criminal conspiracy, that millions of illegal aliens voted in 2008, that the 14th Amendment is tyranny, that un-American thinkers can be prosecuted without affecting “liberty” because liberty only consists of the cravings and lusts of Real Americans.

      I doubt Trump holds a single one of those subsidiary beliefs, or that he will understand the mindset of that faction to realize that he must recite them with a sincere face in order to pass their initiation rituals. Bush Junior did pass the rituals in 2000 to get the faction’s support, but now the bar is set higher since the talk is more violent, more 1860-ish. Trump can’t pass muster because he’s from Manhattan, because people will point out that his fortune depended on the financial industry inflating the value of Manhattan real estate (not to mention the Saudis and now the Chinese), that his genial martinet bossman act is not properly grounded in Christian values and gun rights.

      But he can force all the candidates who may REALLY believe in that insanity to spend a lot more money on the road to the GOP nomination, and sow dissension between the neo-confederates and the other far-right factions, so more power to him.

  17. Tennessee and North Carolina will be surprised to learn they aren’t part of the South

  18. @Cherish
    “I have come to find, and correct me if I’m wrong, that our founders wrote the beloved constitution without a single mention of slavery.”

    Well, you are wrong. Very much so, as a matter of fact. You might want to read through the following from Article I:

    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.

    You might also be interested in this little tidbit from Article IV:

    No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

    You might want to get all cutesy at this point say that the word “slavery” isn’t mentioned in either passage. But the Framers knew what they were doing, which was to deal with slavery-related issues in a way that could also ensure ratification of their proposed constitution. Not all of them approved of slavery by any means, but it never occurred to any of them to deny its existence. They were far more connected to reality than some bubbleheads in contemporary America that come to mind.

  19. I once looked at the census data on interracial marriage, probably from the 2000 census. While 5.4 percent of all marriages in the US are interracial, 98.6 percent of all whites who were married were married to other whites. this is based on my recollection, so please verify the exact numbers before citing.

  20. Some of you may be wondering about the appearance of Oklahoma on the map above as a state with a high intermarriage rate. My best guess is that that mostly reflects marriages between whites and (American) Indians. The number of Indians in Oklahoma is quite high. The number of “pure-blood” Indians is quite low. I would also guess that Indian-black marriages are relatively more common (in proportion to the raw numbers of opportunities) than white-black marriages.

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