Three-Fifths Compromise Law and Legal Definition

Three-fifths compromise refers to a constitutional convention concluded in Philadelphia that allowed the government to count slaves as partial people, settling the dispute over counting slaves. Under this compromise, slaves were counted as three-fifths of a human being for the purpose of taxation and representation in Congress. The compromise provided a solution to the deadlocked situation in the constitutional convention, by providing a mathematical formula which was a convenient way of stating that slaves should not be counted as persons.