Federalist Papers – Essay #54

In Essay #54, The Apportionment of Members Among the States, James Madison discusses his reasoning – a stretch to say the least – for representation in the House of Representatives to be based on population.

He introduces the issue of slavery for the first time in the Federalist Papers and tiptoes through his reasoning by assuming the voice of his “southern brethren” rather than accept full responsibility for the arguments himself. “Such is the reasoning which an advocate from the southern interests might employ on this subject.”  

Madison was opposed to slavery and was forced to deal with the reasoning behind the “three-fifths” compromise as written in the Constitution and its effect on representation in Congress.

  • The laws regard slaves as both property and persons;
  • Southern states would consider it unfair to include slaves in calculating tax burdens but not for the number of representatives apportioned to the states; and
  • That it would take into account the different levels of wealth of the states.

Credit for the summary and analysis of Essay #54 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay #54 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 5 February 2019.

You can read a summary and analysis of Essay #54 by clicking HERE.

You can read the entire text of Essay #54 by clicking HERE.

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