Skip to Main Content

Handout C: The Declaration, the Constitution, and Personhood

The Declaration of Independence, 1776

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…

  1. In what manner does the Declaration of Independence understand all people to be equal?

The Constitution of the United States, 1789

Article I, Section 2, Paragraph 3: 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.

  1. Who are the “all other Persons” to which this document refers?
  2. How were these “all other persons” counted for the purpose of apportioning a state’s representatives and direct taxes?