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In the summer of 1793, a yellow fever epidemic struck Philadelphia, killing nearly 4,000. Tens of th

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In the summer of 1793, a yellow fever epidemic struck Philadelphia, killing nearly 4,000. Tens of thousands fled the city, including President Washington and much of the federal government. Absalom Jones, a religious leader, was among the free blacks who remained to take care of the sick and the dead. The three-fifths ratio adopted into the Constitution as the means of apportioning representation in the House did not apply to Jones. As a free man, he was counted as a whole person.
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