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Nor can it be urged, in justification of the radical changes modern reformers would introduce now, that these landmarks of the early fathers have yet been widely departed from by the States. Though this is a Constitution-making age, and many innovations have been made in all the States upon the labors of our ancestors, all of them have still Con. stitutions which abound in restrictions that are deemed necessary to a good republican government. Thus we find that there are still conditions of eligibility imposed, to a greater or less extent, in all the States. For instance, the Constitution of Virginia, adopted in 1851, requires the Governor to be a native citizen of the United States, a citizen of Virginia for five years, and to have attained the age of thirty years.
The Constitution of Louisiana, adopted in 1846, provides that no person shall be eligible to the office of governor nor lieut.-governor who sball not have attained the age of thirty-five years, been a citizen of the United States, and a resident within the State for a period of fifteen years next preceding his election; nor shall the Governor be eligible for the term next succeeding the one to which he shall have been elected. Senators are required to be twenty-seven years of age, to have been citizens of the United States for ten years, and four years residents of the State next preceding their election; and representatives in the other branch shall have been three years citizens the United States and residents of the State.
In Florida, the Constitution, adopted in 1839, requires the Governor to be thirty years of age, who has been a citizen of the United States ten years, and a resident of the State for five years; and senators and members are required to have resided at least two years preceding their election in the State.
So in Texas, by the Constitution of 1845, the Governor must be thirty years of age, and a resident for three years in the State immediately preceding his election; nor is he eligible for more than two of every three terms of office. Senators must be resident three years and members two years next preceding their election.
The Constitution of Iowa, adopted in 1846, provides that no person shall be eligible as governor who has not arrived at the age of thirty, and been a citizen of the United States and resident of the State two years next preceding his election. Senators must be twenty-five years of age, and have resided one year in the State, and the same residence is required of representatives. We
Thus one State after another might be referred to, and it would appear that the precedents of 1776 are still followed, and that, in this respect, there is but little difference between the conditions now imposed and those by the statesmen of the Revolution, except so far as property qualifications are concerned. Originally, there was but one State, that of Pennsylvania, which had no property qualification attached to the office of governor, and now there are but few; if any, that have such a qualification, even among the old thirteen States.
Though a great diversity of opinion existed in the Convention which framed the Constitution, with regard to the choosing of the United States Executive, and the senators and members of Congress, the legislative agents were at the time and have always been selected in the States by a popular vote. Such was, however, not the case generally as to the State Executive. In most of the States, under the primary constitutions, that appointment devolved upon the Legislatures. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and some other States, so elected. There were, indeed, but few officers then elected by a popular vote in any of the States; and in not a single one did the people elect or appoint the judges. He
. We So, too, nearly all the other offices, civil and military, were either filled by appointments from the executives, or elections by the Legislatures.
As it regarded the Judiciary, the two branches of the New Hampshire Legislature elected them under the Constitution of 1776, and the Governor and Council appointed under that of 1783. In Massachusetts, the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, made the appointments. In New York, the Governor appointed by and with the advice and consent of a Council of Sepators. In New Jersey, the Legislature chose them ; in Pennsylvania, the Governor and Council; in Delaware, the Governor and Assembly; in Maryland, the popular sentiment of the country. Had it not been so, the republican scheme must have altogether failed as impracticable. Bat legislation was no mystery of art, and the people could not well be mistaken in the kind of evidence by which the fitness of a legislative agent should be indicated. High standing for integrity, good sense and acquirements, with some experience in affairs, was all they wanted. So also, the executive function (apart from its judicial subdivision) could be judged of in a general way by everybody. And these are the parts of the system where it was especially momentous that the people should be as closely and sensibly present as possible. But in descending from hence to other branches of the public service, such as the courts, particular bureaus, &c., the case became harder for the common mind to manage. It was not enough that candidates for such places were well reported of. There was to be a special adaptation of the men to the offices, a fitness of artificial skill, concerning which the multitude were scarce capable of forming an intelligent opinion. It would, therefore, be safer as to stations of that sort, to entrust the appointing power with persons of eminence in the government, who from their position might be expected to exert it more cautiously and discreetly than the people could. And, fortunately, there was nothing in the economy of the public liberty that was likely to take harm from such an arrangement.
Still, beyond the question how far it was best to organize the public service by popular vote, how far by substituted agencies (no inconsiderable question by itself), ulterior matters were to be attended to. There was danger of bad men coming into office through ignorance or incaution on the people's part, or by the arts of deceivers; and there was danger of men becoming bad under the perverting influence of office, after their elevation to it. How were evils like these to be guarded against ?
One expedient was that of dividing public power into several parts, called jurisdictions, and setting these in counterpoise against each other. Hence the well known legislative, executive, and judicial departments of government, each under separate charge, and fenced, as far as practicable, against encroachment from the rest. The early constitutions lay great stress upon this.
Another expedient was the territorial division of the country into States, counties and townships; or rather the making use of these divisions (they existed already) to distribute the dispatch of public business over a wide surface, and so to prevent a plethora of the central system, and keep down the fever of the head by drawing off as much as possible of the elements of active power into the extremities.
Other securities of a personal nature were added to these; such as age, residence, property, religion, and the like; required partly in candidates for office; partly in electors, more or less in both. Nor does it need much knowledge of human history to determine that all the guards and cautions which the case admitted of, were not likely to be more than enough.
But, in the second place, the sovereignty of the polls was also to be looked after.
And here the first inquiry would naturally be directed to the proper vesting of this all-important power. Who should have it? From whom should it be withheld ? For observe, it belonged of right to nobody, save as the Constitution should give it, being a mere functionary power to be held, not for the special emolument of individuals, but in trust for the commonwealth. Who, then, in matter of safety and prudence, should have it, and who not? Women and children were of course out of the question. It is incompatible with female delicacy to join the scramble of an electoral contest. And as for children, they could not understand the thing at all; their votes would be no better