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Article 1, Section 2

1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of all the several States, and the Electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature. 
The House of Representative (HR) shall be made up of members elected every other year by the people of the States (not state legislatures, as you’ll see is what the Constitution prescribes for the Senate).

2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
To be a representative in the U.S. HR, you have to be at least 25 years old, either a natural citizen or a citizen who has been naturalized for seven years, and must live in the state he is to represent.

3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers,
The number of representatives and the direct taxes the U.S. collects shall be divided among the States in proportion to each State’s population.^1

which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including these bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons.
(the population upon which the number of representatives and amounts of taxes received shall be based) shall be figured by the total number of all free people, indentured servants^2, and excluding those Indians not required to pay taxes^3. All other people (essentially, slaves), 3/5 of their total will count toward the total population.^4

The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct.
The actual population count shall occur within three years of Congress’s first session, and every ten years after, in a way that Congress shall put into law. ^5

The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one representative;
Each State shall receive a representative seat for every 30,000 people included in the count (and not for any remainder less than 30,000). If a State’s population is less than 30,000, they shall still receive one representative seat

and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
and until this first census is taken, the number of representatives each State shall receive is as listed

4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any State, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
When a representative dies, resigns, is impeached, or his seat is otherwise abandoned, the Governor of his elected State shall order a special election to determine a replacement.

5. The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
The HR reps shall the Speaker of the House and other officers within the House. The members of the House shall have the only power of impeachment.


My Notes:

^1 Direct taxes were to be collected by the U.S. government then divvied up, proportionally, to each state according their population. Today, congressmen (both Dem and Rep) simply write bills with “pork” clauses built in so their states will get a bigger slice of the pie. That is both dirty politics and unconstitutional.

^2 Indentured servants were not considered slaves. In fact, slaves were a rarity during the founding of this nation. The difference between slave and indentured servant was that slaves were obligated to serve their master for life, while indentured servants would become free after their period of servitude (at the time was typically 4 or 5 years) was over or their debt was paid. As such, they were, for all intents and purposes, free men, and could actually vote. *Indentured servitude and slavery are the subject that I will reserve for another in-depth post, as I don’t want to detract from this analysis of the Constitution.

^3 Indians were neither free nor slave.  They were considered another society, not included within the population of the United States. Some Indians had assimilated into American society, became citizens, and thus paid taxes. They were able to vote, and were therefore counted toward the represented population. Those still living in tribes or on reservations did not pay taxes as U.S. citizens, could not vote as U.S. citizens, and therefore weren’t counted as part of the represented population.

^4 Slaves were the only ones that weren’t already described in this section, so they were the “all other people” mentioned in Art 1, Sect 2, para 3. Three-fifths of the slave population counted toward the total of the represented population, although they weren’t allowed to vote. Many people claim that out country was founded upon slavery. That is not a fact. Fact is, our founders wanted all men to be free (read our Declaration of Independence).

Northern states did not want to count slaves, because slaves weren’t free and couldn’t vote. They argued that if the slave states would free the slaves, then they could count them for representation. The Southern states had a lot of slaves among their population, so they wanted all of them counted so they could get more representatives. But Southern States relied heavily on slave labor, since it was cheap, so they did not want to free the slaves.

A compromise was made to count 3 out of every 5 slaves. This meant that slave states would receive one representative seat in Congress for every 50,000 slaves instead of only 30,000. This would reduce their number of representatives to nearly half, based on the number of slaves, thus influencing them into freeing slaves in order for their State to get more legislative power within the House. *As mentioned above at the end of Note ^2, I will reserve another post later on, specifically to discuss slavery and indentured servitude.

^5 This clause is the justification, and the origin, of the U.S. Census. As you can see, the purpose of the Census is to get a population count that would determine how many representative seats each State is entitled to. In keeping with the intent and spirit of the Constitution, the Census was to be used to determine the population of each State, their status (i.e., free, slave, indentured servant); therefore, all other questions one would find on a Census form today are not needed to determine how many representatives a State is entitled to, and therefore are not Constitutionally mandated (I see that as “unconstitutional”). The Census should list address, names of all household members, date of birth, and if we were still in times of slavery and indentured servitude, their status. NOTHING MORE! Not your occupation, your race, your political affiliation, or anything else.


© 2011 Ike Chisholm

All additional materials contained in this work are the ideas and works of the author. Use of these works is forbidden without expressed permission from the author.  The text of the Constitution is not copyrighted. It is not the author’s intent to claim the text of the Constitution as his own.

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