The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


Notes on Virginia . . . shows what I think on the question of the right of electing and being elected . . . on a year's residence in the country; or the possession of property in it, or a year's enrollment in its militia. When the constitution of Virginia was framed I was in attendance at Congress. Had I been here I should probably have proposed a general suffrage: because my opinion has always been in favor of it Still I find very honest men who, thinking the possession of some property necessary to give independence of mind, are for restraining the elective franchise to property. I believe we may lessen the danger of buying and selling votes, by making the number of voters too great for any means of purchase: I may further say that I have not observed men's honesty to increase with their riches.

to Jeremiah Moor, 14 August 1800