Address of the Massachusetts Convention to their Constituents
[These remarks, defending the property requirement for voting, were part of a letter transmitting the proposed Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 to the citizens of that state. TGW]
Your delegates considered that persons who are twenty-one years of age, and have no property, are either those who live upon a part of a paternal estate, expecting the fee thereof, who are but just entering into business, or those whose idleness of life and profligacy of manners will forever bar them from acquiring and possessing property. And we will submit it to the former class, whether they would not think it safer for them to have their right of voting for a representative suspended for a small space of time, than forever hereafter to have their privileges liable to the control of men, who will pay less regard to the rights of property because they have nothing to lose.
[From Oscar and Mary Handlin, ed., The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966), 437.]