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- Was the Founding Undemocratic? The Property Requirement for Voting

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Home > Document Library > Women and the Right to Vote > The Farmer Refuted

The Farmer Refuted

Alexander Hamilton

[The classic argument for limiting voting rights to adult males who own property: so that voters are excluded who are dependent on the wills of others for their livelihood. — TGW]


[Hamilton is quoting Blackstone’s Commentaries, bk. 1, ch. 2:]

"If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other."

From Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961-79), 1:106.


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