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|Texas Defender wrote:
Ole, I agree that the SOUTHERNERS considered maintaining a balance in the Senate to be more important than the number of House seats they had. But I still believe that many in the north considered that the slave states had more House seats than they deserved to have because of the 3/5 Compromise. It was, after all, a compromise made to gain the support of the southern delegates at the Constitutional Convention. It worked to the advantage of the southern states.
Northerners in the House might well have been aware of the south's advantage; however, I don't recall any records wherein this was mentioned, let alone complained about. It was just a condition that all seem to have accepted as a constitutional requirement and it was left alone.
I would also maintain that slaveowners had a competitive advantage, not only in the east, but even in the territories. A large scale operation, or even a smaller one, whose owners don't have to pay their workers will usually outcompete one whose owners have to pay wages or provide the labor themselves. The larger the size of the slaveholder's operation, the more of an advantage it was likely to have.
I'll agree -- to a point. Cotton does not grow in Kansas. What large-scale operation would abandon the cash and status of cotton for wheat and corn? Another: Growing cotton is a year-round effort; grain and livestock are basically seasonal. Seasonal help can be hired by the week or month -- they needn't be purchased nor cared for year-round. The advantage existed for cotton, cane, rice and tobacco planters -- not in the plains.
It was clear to many in the south that they were losing the delicate balance of power that they had struggled so long to maintain. If their system could not expand, they feared, they would find themselves surrounded by adversaries and outvoted in the Congress. The considered that their interests would suffer in such an environment, and they chose to opt out. The final result of this, however, was not at all what most of them expected.
On this, we have agreement. I will quibble and point out that the balance of power did not become delicate until 1850. The south had enjoyed virtual control of the Federal government since inception.