The True Theory of Representation in a State

Cover of book The True Theory of Representation in a State
Categories: Nonfiction

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tisfactorily, and conferring them on those who were deficient in these very essential qualifications. Taxation is also, surely, a very unfair and very unsatisfactory criterion to resort to in the regulation of the general principle of representation, or of electoral suffrage. Taxation is, happily, but a very small part of the duty of a legislator; and even if it was more important, the principle as determined by this is most unjust. The rule is, in fact, adopted, if the truth may be told, not so much for the purpose of enfranchising any, as for the purpose of excluding certain persons from the franchise; while no additional enfranchisement is conferred upon those who pay the most by way of taxes. The people are surely as much interested in the making of laws which they have to obey, and ought consequently to have a voice in the enactment of, as they are in the precise mode of levying taxes, which, unfortunately, must be raised by some device or other, whoever and whatever our representatives may chance to be. If, however, it could be proved that those only who pay taxes are of right entitled to a share in the suffrage, I would humbly ask who in this happy country are wholly exempt from taxation ? Does not every individual in the State, from the highestpeer to the humblest beggar, either directly or indirectly, if not in both these modes, and in many ways, pay tax on every single article that he uses, whether for food or for dress ? If so, and taxation be the test of elective qualification, then, not only all intelligent and independent persons, but all persons whatsoever, ought to share in the suffrage. How comes it to pass, moreover, that the very able and energetic advocates for the principle that numbers alone ought to be considered in the formation of...

The True Theory of Representation in a State
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