Friday, January 29, 2016
James Madison, "If the legislature could regulate those of either, it can by degrees subvert the Constitution. . . . It was as improper as to allow them to fix their own wages, or their own privileges...."
"Mr. MADISON was opposed to the section, as vesting an improper and dangerous power in the legislature. The qualifications of electors and elected were fundamental articles in a republican government, and ought to be fixed by the Constitution. If the legislature could regulate those of either, it can by degrees subvert the Constitution. A republic may be converted into an aristocracy or oligarchy, as well by limiting the number capable of being elected as the number authorized to elect. In all cases where the representatives of the people will have a personal interest distinct from that of their constituents, there was the same reason for being jealous of them as there was for relying on them with full confidence, when they had a common interest. This was one of the former cases. It was as improper as to allow them to fix their own wages, or their own privileges. It was a power, also, which might he made subservient to the views of one faction against another. Qualifications founded on artificial distinctions may be devised by the stronger in order to keep out partizans of a weaker faction." [Aug. 10, 1787, Debates In The Federal Convention Of 1787, Held At Philadelphia. [Elliot’s Debates, Vol. V, Pg. 404]