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it seems scarcely consistent with the spirit of a republican constitution, that this should be made a qualification for holding office, although it may be quite proper to require some degree of property, or its equivalent evidence of moral fitness, as a qualification for the right of choosing to office. The solid reason for a distinction is, that, in order to have a property qualification for office at all efficient, or even of any perceptible operation, it must be made so large that it will tend to exclude persons of real talent, or even the highest capacity for the public service. Whereas, a property qualification may be applied to the exercise of the elective franchise, by requiring so small an amount that it will practically exclude but few who possess the moral requisites for its intelligent and honest use; and even to this extent the operation of such a rule may be, as it is in some well-governed communities, greatly relieved, by substituting for the positive possession of any amount of property, that species of evidence of moral fitness for the right of voting that is implied by the capacity to pay a very small portion of the public burdens.1
At the present stage, however, of the formation of the Constitution of the United States, the opinions of a majority of the States were in favor of a property qualification for office, as well as a requirement of citizenship; and the committee of detail
1 As in the State of Massachusetts; where the sole money qualification required of a voter is the
payment of an annual poll-tax of $1.25, or about five shillings sterling.
were instructed accordingly, with the dissent of only three of the States. But, as we shall afterwards find, another view of the subject finally prevailed.
No definite action was had, at this stage, upon the subject of a seat of the national government; but it was almost unanimously agreed to be the general sense of the country, that it ought not to be placed at the seat of any State government, or in any large commercial city; and that provision ought to be made by Congress, as speedily as possible, for the establishment of a national seat and the erection of suitable public buildings.
Such was the character of the system sent to a committee of detail, to be put into the form of a constitution. Before it was sent to them, however, a notice was given by an eminent Southern member, which looked to the introduction of provisions not yet contemplated or discussed. According to Mr. Madison's minutes, General Pinckney rose and reminded the Convention, that, if the committee should fail to insert some security to the Southern States against an emancipation of slaves, and taxes on exports, he should be bound by duty to his State to vote against their report.1
2 See the title "Qualifications” in the Index.
3 The committee of detail, appointed July 24, consisted of Messrs. Rutledge, Randolph, Gorham, Ellsworth, and Wilson. Elliot, V. 357.
4 By a security against an emancipation of slaves, General Pinckney meant some provision for their extradition in cases of escape into the free States. This is apparent from the history of the extradition clause; and it is upon the notice thus given by him, and the action had upon this clause, that the state
The resolutions as adopted by the Convention, together with the propositions offered by Mr. Charles Pinckney on the 29th of May, and those offered by Mr. Patterson on the 15th of June, were then referred to a committee of detail.1
ment often made, which assumes that the Constitution could not have
een established without some provision on this subject as well as upon general reasoning from the circumstances of the case- rests for its proof. See as to the origin and history of the extradition clause, post, p. 450.
tures; to be of the age of thirty years at least; to hold their offices for six years, one third to go out biennially; to receive a compensation for the devotion of their time to the public service; to be ineligible to, and incapable of holding, any office under the authority of the United States, (except those peculiarly belong
1 The resolutions, as referred, ing to the functions of the second were as follows:
branch,) during the term for which they are elected, and for one year. thereafter.
"1. Resolved, That the government of the United States ought to consist of a supreme legislative, judiciary, and executive.
"2. Resolved, That the legislature consist of two branches.
"3. Resolved, That the members of the first branch of the legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several States for the term of two years; to be paid out of the public treasury; to receive an adequate compensation for their servi
ces; to be of the age of twenty-five years at least; to be ineligible to, and incapable of holding, any office under the authority of the United States, (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the first branch,) during the term of service of the first branch.
"4. Resolved, That the members of the second branch of the legislature of the United States ought to be chosen by the individual legisla
"5. Resolved, that each branch ought to possess the right of origi nating acts.
"6. Resolved, That the national legislature ought to possess the legislative rights vested in Congress by the Confederation; and, moreover, to legislate in all cases for the general interests of the Union, and also in those to which the States are separately incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation.
"7. Resolved, That the legisla tive acts of the United States, made by virtue and in pursuance of the Articles of Union, and all treaties made and ratified under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the respective States, as far as those acts or treaties shall relate to the said States,
or their citizens and inhabitants; and that the judiciaries of the several States shall be bound thereby in their decisions, anything in the respective laws of the individual States to the contrary notwithstanding.
"8. Resolved, That, in the original formation of the legislature of the United States, the first branch thereof shall consist of sixty-five members; of which number, New Hampshire shall send three; Massachusetts, eight; Rhode Island, one; Connecticut, five; New York, six; New Jersey, four; Pennsylvania, eight; Delaware, one; Maryland, six; Virginia, ten; North Carolina, five; South Carolina, five: Georgia, three. But as the present situation of the States may probably alter in the number of their inhabitants, the legislature of the United .States shall be authorized, from time to time, to apportion the number of representatives; and in case any of the States shall hereafter be divided, or enlarged by addition of territory, or any two or more States united, or any new States created within the limits of the United States, the legislature of the United States shall possess authority to regulate the number of representatives, in any of the foregoing cases, upon the principle of their number of inhabitants, according to the provisions hereafter mentioned, namely: Provided always, that representation ought to be proportioned to direct taxation. And in order to ascertain the alteration in the direct taxation which may be required from time to time by the changes in the relative circumstances of the States,
"9. Resolved, That a census be taken within six years from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States, and once within the term of every ten years afterwards, of all the inhabitants of the United States, in the manner and according to the ratio recommended by Congress in their resolution of the 18th of April, 1783; and that the legislature of the United States shall proportion the direct taxation accordingly.
"10. Resolved, That all bills for raising or appropriating money, and for fixing the salaries of the officers of the government of the United States, shall originate in the first branch of the legislature of the United States, and shall not be altered or amended by the second branch; and that no money shall be drawn from the public treasury, but in pursuance of appropriations to be originated by the first branch.
"11. Resolved, That, in the second branch of the legislature of the United States, each State shall have an equal vote.
"12. Resolved, That a national executive be instituted, to consist of a single person; to be chosen by the national legislature, for the term of seven years; to be ineligible a second time; with power to carry into execution the national laws; to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for; to be removable on impeachment, and conviction of malepractice or neglect of duty; to receive a fixed compensation for the devotion of his time to the public service, to be paid out of the public treasury.
State shall be protected against foreign and domestic violence.
"19. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union, whensoever it shall seem necessary.
"13. Resolved, That the national executive shall have a right to negátive any legislative act; which shall not be afterwards passed, unless by two third parts of each branch of the national legislature.
"14. Resolved, That a national judiciary be established, to consist of one supreme tribunal, the judges of which shall be appointed by the second branch of the national legislature; to hold their offices during good behavior; to receive punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for their services, in which no diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such diminution.
"15. Resolved, That the national legislature be empowed to appoint inferior tribunals.
"16. Resolved, That the jurisdiction of the national judiciary shall extend to cases arising under laws passed by the general legislature; and to such other questions as involve the national peace and harmony.
"17. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of government and territory, or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the national legislature less than the whole.
"18. Resolved, That a republican form of government shall be guaranteed to each State; and that each
"20. Resolved, That the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers, within the several States, and of the national government, ought to be bound, by oath, to support the Articles of Union.
"21. Resolved, That the amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation by the Convention ought, at a proper time or times, after the approbation of Congress, to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the people to consider and decide thereon.
"22. Resolved, That the representation in the second branch of the legislature of the United States shall consist of two members from each State, who shall vote per capita.
"23. Resolved, That it be an instruction to the committee to whom were referred the proceedings of the Convention for the establishment of a national government, to receive a clause, or clauses, requiring certain qualifications of property and citizenship in the United States, for the executive, the judiciary, and the members of both branches of the legislature of the United States."