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Mr. Baldwin could not enter into the force of the arguments against extending the disqualification to foreigners now citizens. The discrimination of the place of birth was not more objectionable than that of age, which all had concurred the propriety of,
On the question on the proviso of Mr. Gouverneur Morris, in favor of foreigners, now citizens,
Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia—aye, 5; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia-no, 6. Elliott's Debates, vol. v., 411-14.
CONDITIONS OF ELIGIBILITY TO OFFICE.
The conditions of eligibility to the Executive and Representative stations of the State governments, at the formation and adoption of the Federal Constitution, afford some evidence of what the sentiment of the country then was in general upon matters of conservative policy, and show that there existed as much disposition among our forefathers to guard against a wild and unrestrained spirit of democracy, as on the other hand to avoid yielding up too much of their sovereign power,
Thus we find that two of the States, Rhode Island and Connecticut, continued to act under their colonial charters for a long while after the adoption of the United States Constitution, and the establishment of the General Government.
New Hampshire adopted a new Constitution in 1783; and it required that the Governor, to be eligible, should be an inhabitant of seven years' standing, possessed of an estate of £500; that senators should be thirty years of age, inhabitants of seven years' standing, and have freeholds to the value of £200; and that representatives in the House of Representatives should be residents of two years' standing, and have property equal to £100, half freehold.
In Massachusetts, the Constitution of 1780 provided that the Governor should have a residence of seven years, and a freehold of £1000; that a senator's residence must be five years, with a freehold of £300, or personal estate of £600; and that a representative in the Assembly should be a resident of one year, and have a freehold of £100, or personal estate taxable of £200.
The New York Constitution of 1777 required the Governor to have a three years' residence and be "a wise and discreet freeholder;" and the senators were also to be "freeholders chosen out of the body of the freeholders."
By the New Jersey Constitution of 1776, the Senate, called “The Legislative Council," was to consist of persons resident in the State at least one year, “and worth at least £1000 proclamation money," and the Assembly was to consist of members with the same length of residence, who were to be "worth £500 proclamation money."
In Pennsylvania, by the Constitution of 1776, members of the Assembly had to be residents for two years in the county they represented, but no property qualification was required beyond that of having paid taxes.
The Constitution of Delaware, adopted in 1776, provided that both branches of the Assembly should consist of freeholders.
The one adopted in Maryland, the same year, required the Governor to be twenty-five years of age, a resident of five years' standing, and to have within the State property above the value of £5000, of which at least £1000 to be real estate. Senators were to be twenty-five years of age, three years residents, and possessed of real and personal property worth £1000; while delegates to the other branch were to be twenty-one years of age, one year residents, and possessed of property worth £500 each.
That adopted in Virginia, the same year, required senators to be twentyfive years old, and to be freeholders of the district, and the members of the other branch to be freeholders of their respective counties.
That of North Carolina, also adopted the same year, admitted none under thirty years of age to be Governor, and required a residence of five years and a freehold of £1000 value; no one to be senator without one year's residence and £300 freehold; nor any to be of the other house without a year's residence and £100 freehold.
The Constitution of South Carolina, adopted in 1778, required the Governor to be a resident of ten years' standing, and have a freehold of £10,000 clear of debt. His council were to be of like estate and five years' residence; senators to have actual residence and freeholds of £2000, or, if non-residents, to have freeholds of £7000; and members of Assembly to be three years' residents.
By the Constitution of Georgia, adopted in 1777, the Governor was to be a resident for three years, and the members of both houses of the Legislature for at least one year, and owners of 250 acres of land, or property of some kind worth £250.
In speaking of the evidences thus afforded us of the views of the early patriots, as to the kind of men who were most likely fit for the public service, and the restrictions they deemed not only proper, but not inconsistent with the true principles of republican government, Mr. Warner very properly and justly remarks, in the July number of the American Review of 1849:
“They did not think it safe to repose entirely on the unassisted discretion of the people in filling such emplayments. The people would of course mean well, but they
might act without a pr«per knowledge of the persons they were roting for, or might be misled. It was therefore deemed necessary to draw a line enclosing all the ground of prudent suffrage, as regarded the men to be voted for, and shutting out persons of immature age and inexperience, or who had not resided long enough in their respective neighborhoods to be generally known, or were destitute of the evidence that property gives, as well as of personal virtue and intelligence, as of interest felt in the country's welfare and prosperity. Governors and senators, it was considered, should be at least from twenty-five to thirty years old, and should have been for some years established in the districts where they were candidates, so that every elector might be acquainted with their merits or demerits. * * And in the whole extent of the Union there was but a single State (Pennsylvania) that did not insist upon the security of a property qualification, before they would admit an individual of any name or character into the upper provinces of the public service. For even Connecticut and Rhode Island are understood to have concurred in this rule, though under charter governments. governor, or every member of an executive council, was required in terms to be a man of property. These officers were in some cases appointed by the legislative houses ; and it was then deemed sufficient to confine the express provision, as to property qualifications, to these houses."
Nor that every
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 Constitutions 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 of 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.
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 s '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.
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 Governor and Council; in Virginia, the Legislature on joint ballot; in North and South Carolina, and Georgia, the same.
Being thus chosen in all the States, as most of the other officers were, : the Convention which formed the Federal Constitution was not likely to adopt a different policy for the General Government. It was, however, a subject full of difficulty and embarrassment, as the debates plainly show. In the sketch of a Constitution prepared by Colonel Hamilton, and read by him to the Convention, he proposed that the Executive should have " the sole appointment of the heads or chief officers of the departments of finance, war and foreign affairs," and to have the appoint ment of all other officers, “subject to the approbation or rejection of the
nate.” 5 Elliott's Deb., 205. The draft submitted by Charles Pinckney proposed to give to the Senate the appointment of “ambassadors and other ministers to foreign nations, and judges of the Supreme court," and that the President should “nominate and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint all other officers.” Ibid. 130. Mr. Patterson's plan, which had been concerted by delegates from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware, and was offered as a counter proposition to the plan the Convention had informally agreed to, proposed that the judges should be appointed by the Executive, and also all federal officers not otherwise provided for. Ibid. 192. Various other propositions were submitted, but the Convention at last agreed upon the provision now in the Constitution with great unanimity.
Mr. Randolph's plan was that the judges should be elected by Congress. Mr. Wilson led off in opposition to this mode of appointment. He said “experience showed the impropriety of such appointments by numerous bodies. Intrigue, partiality, and concealment, were the necessary consequences. A principal reason for unity in the Executive was, that officers might be appointed by a single responsible person.". Mr. Rutledge was not “disposed to grant so great a power to any single person." Dr. Franklin“ wished such other modes suggested as might occur to other gentlemen,” and “ related a Scotch mode, in which the nomination proceeded from the lawyers, who always selected the ablest of the profession, to get rid of him, and share his practice among themselves.” Mr. Madison expressed his dislike “ to the election of the judges by the Legislature, or any numerous body;" but he was not satisfied with referring the appointment to the Executive." He hinted that it might be given to the Senate, and moved that the appointment by the Legislature be stricken out and a blank left, which was agreed to. 5 Elliott's Deb., 155. When the subject was resumed, Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Sherman moved to reinsert the words previously stricken out. Mr. Madison "objected to an appointment by the whole Legislature.” He said “ many of them are incompetent judges of the requisite qualifica