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was necessary, to satisfy Americans of the advantages of a House of Representatives, which should emanate directly from themselves, which should guard their interests, support their rights, express their opinions, make known their wants, redress their grievances, and introduce a pervading popular influence throughout all the operations of the Government. Their own experience as Colonies, as well as the experience of the parent country, and the general deductions of theory, had settled it, as a fundamental principle of a free Government, and especially, of a republican Government, that no laws ought to be passed, without the consent of the people, through representatives, immediately chosen by, and responsible to them.
$ 55. Secondly, the Qualifications of Electors. These were various in the different States. In some of them, none but freeholders were entitled to vote; in others, only persons admitted to the privileges of freemen; in others, a qualification of property was required; in others, a modified taxation ; and in others again, the right of suffrage was almost universal. This consideration had great weight in the Convention; and the extreme difficulty of agreeing upon any uniform rule of voting, which should be acceptable to all the States, induced them to adopt the existing rule as to the choice of Representatives in the State Legislatures. Thus, the peculiar wishes of each State, in the formation of its own popular branch, were consulted ; and some not unimportant diversities were introduced into the composition of the national House of Representatives. All the members would represent the people, but not exactly under influences precisely of the same character.
56. Thirdly, the term of service of the Representatives. It is two years. This, with reference to the nature of the duties to be performed by the members, to the knowledge and experience essential to a right performance of them, and to the periods, for which the State Legislatures are chosen,
seems as short as an enlightened regard to the public good could require.
A very short term of service would bring together a great many new members, with little or no experience in the national business ; the very frequency of the elections would render the office of less inportance to able men ; and some of the duties to be performed would require more time, and more mature inquiries, than could be gathered, in the brief space of a single session, from the distant parts of so extensive a territory. What might be well begun by one set of men, could scarcely be carried on in the same spirit by another. So that there would be great danger of new and immature plans succeeding each other, without any well established system of operations.
§ 57. Fourthly, the Qualifications of Representatives. The Constitution declares — No person shall be a Repre
sentative, who shall not have attained to the age of twenty' five years; and been seven years a citizen of the United States; and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant
of that State, in which he shall be chosen.' These qualifications are few and simple. They respect only age, citizenship, and inhabitancy.
5 58. First, in regard to age. That some qualification, , as to age, is desirable, cannot well be doubted, if knowledge, or experience, or wisdom, is of any value in the administration of public affairs. And if any qualification is required, what can be more suitable than twenty-five years of age ? The character and principles of young men can scarcely be understood at the moment of their majority. They are then new to the rights of legislative Government; warm in their passions; ardent in their expectations; and too eager in their favorite pursuits, to learn the lessons of caution, which riper years inculcate. Four years of probation, beyond this period, will scarcely suffice to furnish them with that thorough insight into the business of human life, which is indispensable, to a safe and enlightened exercise of public duties,
$ 59. Secondly, in regard to citizenship. No person will deny the propriety of excluding aliens, from any share in the administration of the affairs of the National Government. No persons, but citizens, can be presumed to feel that deep sense of the value of domestic institutions, and that permanent attachment to the soil, and interests of the country, which are the true sources of a healthy patriotism. The only practical question would seem to be, whether foreigners, even after they were naturalized, should be permitted to hold office. Most nations studiously exclude them, from policy or jealousy. But the peculiar circumstances of our country called for a less vigorous course; and the period of seven years was selected as one, which would enable naturalized citizens to acquire a reasonable familiarity with the principles, and interests of the People; and at the same time justify the latter in reposing confidence in their talents, virtues, and patriotism.
$ 60. Thirdly, in regard to inhabitancy. The Representative must be an inhabitant of the State, at the time when he is chosen. The object of this clause, doubtless, is to secure, on the part of the Representative, a familiar knowledge of the interests of the People, whom he represents, a just responsibility to them, and a personal share in all the local results of the measures, which he shall support. It is observable, that inhabitancy is required in the State only, and not in any particular election district; so that the Constitution leaves a wide field of choice open to the Electors. And if we consider, how various the interests, pursuits, employments, products, and local circumstances of the different States are, we can scarcely be surprised, that there should be a marked anxiety to secure a just representation of all of them in the national councils.
$ 61. Subject to these reasonable qualifications, the House of Representatives is open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, whether rich or poor, without any discrimination of rank, business, profession, or religious opinion.
5 62. The next clause respects the apportionment of Representatives among the States. It declares — Repre'sentatives, and direct taxes, shall be apportioned among the
several States, which may be included within this Union, ac'cording to their respective numbers, which shall be deter'mined 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.
The 'actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, and in such manner, as they shall by law direct. The number of Rep"resentatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand; .but each State shall have at least one Representative. And until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New• Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts,
eight; Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantations, one; Connecticut, five; New-York, six ; New-Jersey, four; Pennsyl'vania, eight; Delaware, one; Maryland, six ; Virginia, ten; • North Carolina, five; South Carolina, five; and Georgia, 'three.'
$ 63. Under the Confederation, each State was entitled to one vote only, but might send as many delegates to Congress, as it should choose, not less than two, nor more than seven; and of course, the concurrence of a majority of its delegates was necessary to every vote of each State. In the House of Representatives, each member is entitled a vote, and therefore, the apportionment of Representatives became, among the States, a subject of deep interest, and of no inconsiderable diversity of opinion, in the Convention. The small States insisted upon an equality of representation ; which was as strenuously resisted by the large States. The slave-holding States insisted on a representation strictly according to numbers; the non-slave-holding States contended for a representation according to the number of free persons
only. The controversy was full of excitement, and was maintained with so much obstinacy on each side, that the Convention was more than once on the eve of a dissolution. At length, the present system was adopted, by way of compromise. It was seen to be unequal in its operation, but was a necessary sacrifice to that spirit of conciliation, on which the Union was founded. The exception of Indians was of no permanent importance; and the persons bound to service for a term of years, were too few to produce any sensible effect in the enumeration. The real difficulty was, as to slaves, who were included under the mild appellation of all other persons.' Three fifths of the slaves are added to the number of free persons, as the basis of the apportionment.
$ 64. In order to reconcile the non-slave-holding States to this arrangement, it was agreed that direct taxes (the nature of which we shall hereafter consider) should be apportioned in the same manner as representatives. This provision is more specious than solid ; for, in reality, it exempts the remaining two fifths of the slaves from direct taxation. But, in the practical operations of the Government, a far more striking inequality has been disclosed. The principle of representation is uniform and constant; whereas, the imposition of direct taxes is occasional and rare; and in fact, three direct taxes only have been laid since the adoption of the Constitution. The slave-holding States have, at the present time, in Congress, twenty-five representatives more, than they would have upon the basis of an enumeration of free persons only. Viewed, however, as a measure of compromise, it is entitled to great praise, for its moderation, its aim at practical utility, and its tendency to satisfy the people of every State in the Union, that the Constitution ought to be dear to all, by the privileges it confers, as well as the blessings it secures.
$ 65. In order to carry into effect this principle of apportionment, it was indispensable, that some provision should be