Federal Property Requirements Defeated

Franklin_Benjamin
Benjamin Franklin
David Rent Etter, after Chales Willson Peale after David Martin, 1835

Independence National Historical Park

Federal Property Requirements Defeated

"It is of great consequence that we should not depress the virtue and public spirit of our common people;..."

-Benjamin Franklin in Madison's Notes on the Convention

"The Report of the Committee of Detail was taken up," a motion to refer it to a Committee of the Whole defeated, (6 no, DE, MD, and VA ay), and the first two articles approved.

The Convention then moved on to Article III:"The legislative power shall be vested in a Congress, to consist of two separate and distinct bodies of men, a House of Representatives and a Senate; each of which shall [,] in all cases [,] have a negative on the other. The Legislature shall meet on the first Monday in December [in] every year." After debate, the Article was amended and approved.

Next came Article IV, section 1: "The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen every second year, by the people of the several States comprehended within this Union. The qualifications of the electors shall be the same, from time to time, as those of the electors [voters] in the several States, of the most numerous branch of their own legislature."

Gouverneur Morris' (PA) motion to require voters to own property was defeated, although Madison supported it. With this vote property requirements were set at the state level: the same as any for the lower house of the state legislature. State property requirements began to disappear in the second quarter of the nineteenth century with New York leading the way. In the end, all federal voting requirements are left to the states by the Convention.

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Last updated: February 26, 2015

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