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interests of a single State, may be subversive of those of other States. A regulat.on of commerce, wise and jus for the commercial States, may strike at the foundation of the prosperity of the agricultural or manufacturing States. And, on the other hand, a measure beneficial to agricul ture or manufactures, may disturb, and even overwhelm the shipping interest. Large and enlightened views comprehensive information, and a just attention to the local peculiarities, and products, and employments of different States, are absolutely indispensable qualifications for members of Congress. Yet it is obvious, that if very short periods of service are to be allowed to members of Congress, the continual fluctuations in the public councils, and the perpetual changes of members, will be very unfavorable to the acquirement of the proper knowledge, and the due application of it for the public welfare. One set of men will just have mastered the necessary information, when they will be succeeded by a second set, who are to go over the same grounds, and then are to be succeeded by a third. So that inexperience, instead of practical wisdom, hasty legislation, in stead of sober deliberation, and imperfect projects, in stead of well-constructed systems, would characterize the national government.
§ 73. Fourthly, the qualifications of Representatives The Constitution declares-" No person shall be a Representative, who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years; and been seven years a citizen of the United States; and who shall not, when elected, be an mhabitant of that State, in which he shall be chosen." These qualifications are few and simple. They respect only age, citizenship, and inhabitancy.
74. First, in regard to age. That some qualification, as to age, is desirable, cannot well be doubted, if knowledge, or experience, or wisdom, is of any value ir the administration of public affairs. And if any qualification is required, what can be more suitable than twenty-five years of age? The character and principles of young men can scarcely be understood at the moment of their majority. They are then new to the rights even
A self-government; warm in their passions; ardent in their expectations; and too eager in their favorite pursuits, to learn the lessons of caution, which riper years inculcate. Four years of probation, is but a very short space, in which to try their virtues, to develope their talents, to enlarge their intellectual resources, and to give them a practical knowledge of the true principles of legislation. Indeed, it may be safely said, that a much longer period will scarcely suffice to furnish them with that thorough insight into the business of human life, which is indispensable to a safe and enlightened exercise of public duties.
§75. Secondly, in regard to citizenship. No person will deny the propriety of excluding aliens from any share in the administration of the affairs of the national government. No persons, but citizens, can be presumed to feel that deep sense of the value of our domestic institutions, and that permanent attachment to the soil and interests of our country, which are the true sources of a healthy patriotism. The only practical question would seem to be, whether foreigners, even after they were naturalized, should be permitted to hold office. Most nations studiously exclude them, from policy, or from jealousy. But the peculiar circumstances of our country were supposed to call for a less rigorous course; and the period of seven years was selected as one, which would enable naturalized citizens to acquire a reasonable familiarity with the principles of our institutions and with the interests of the people; and which, at the same time, would justify the latter in reposing confidence in their talents, virtues, and patriotism.
§ 76. Thirdly, in regard to inhabitancy. The Repre sentative is required to be an inhabitant of the State, at the time when he is chosen. The object of this clause, doubtless, is to secure, on the part of the Representative, a familiar knowledge of the interests of the people whom he represents, a just responsibility to them, and a personal share in all the local results of the measures, which he shall support. It is observable, that inhabitancy is required in the State only, and not in any particular elec
tion district; so that the Constitution leaves a wide field of choice open to the electors. And if we consider, how various the interests, pursuits, employments, products, and local circumstances of the different States are we can scarcely be surprised, that there should be a marked anxiety to secure a just representation of all of them in the national councils.
$77. Subject to these reasonable qualifications, the House of Representatives is open to persons of merit of every description, whether native or adopted citizens, whether young or old, whether rich or poor, without any discrimination of rank, or business, or profession, or religious opinion.
§78. The next clause of the Constitution respects the apportionment of Representatives among the States. It declares," Representatives, and direct taxes, shall be apportioned among the several States, which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner, as they shall by law direct. The number of Representa tives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand; but each State shall have at least one Representative. And until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three; Massachu setts, eight; Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, one; Connecticut, five; New York, six; New Jersey. four; Pennsylvania, eight; Delaware, one; Maryland, six; Virginia, ten; North Carolina, five; South Caro lina, five; and Georgia, three."
§79. Under the Confederation, each State was entitled to one vote only, but might send as many delegates to Congress, as it should choose, not less than two, nʊr more than seven; and of course, the concurrence of a majority of its delegates was necessary to every vote ri
each State. In the House of Representatives, each member is entitled to one vote, and therefore the appor tionment of Representatives became, among the States, a subject of deep interest, and of no inconsiderable diver sity of opinion in the Convention. The small States insisted upon an equality of representation in the House of Representatives, as well as in the Senate, which was strenuously resisted by the large States. The slaveholding States insisted on a representation strictly according to the number of inhabitants, whether they were slaves or free persons, within the State. The nonslave-holding States contended for a representation ac cording to the number of free persons only. The con troversy was full of excitement, and was maintained with so much obstinacy, on each side, that the Convention was more than once on the eve of a dissolution. At length, the present system was adopted, by way of compromise. It was seen to be unequal in its operation, but was a necessary sacrifice to that spirit of conciliation, on which the Union was founded. The exception of Indians was of no permanent importance; and the persons bound to service for a term of years were too few to produce any sensible effect in the enumeration. The real difficulty was, as to slaves, who were included under the mild appellation of "all other persons." Three fifths of the slaves are added to the number of free persons, as the basis of the apportionment.
§ 80. In order to reconcile the non-slave-holding States to this arrangement, it was agreed, that direct taxes (the nature of which we shall hereafter consider) should be apportioned in the same manner as Representa lives. This provision is more specious than solid; for, in reality, it exempts the remaining two fifths of the slaves from direct taxation. But, in the practical operations of the government, a far more striking inequality has been developed. The principle of representation is uniform and constant ; whereas, the imposition of direct taxes is occasional and rare; and, in fact, three direct taxes only have been laid, at distant periods from each other, since the adoption of the Constitution. The slave
holding States have, at the present time, in Congress, twenty-five Representatives more than they would have upon the basis of an enumeration of free persons only. The apportionment, however, viewed as a matter of compromise, is entitled to great praise, for its moderation, its aim at practical utility, and its tendency to satisfy the people of every State in the Union, that the Constitution ought to be dear to all, by the privileges, which t confers, as well as by the blessings, which it secures. It has sometimes been complained of as a grievance, founded in a gross inequality and an unjustifiable surrender of important rights. But whatever force there may be in the suggestion, abstractly considered, it should never be forgotten that it was a necessary price paid for the Union; and ad been refused, the Constitution never would have been recommended for the adoption of the people, even by the Couvention, which framed it.
§ 81. In order to carry into effect this principle of apportionment, it was indispensable, that some provision should be made for ascertaining, at stated times, the population of each State. Unless this should be done, it is obvious, that, as the growth of the different States would be in very unequal proportions, the representation would soon be marked by a corresponding inequality. To illustrate this, we need only to look at Delaware, which now sends only one Representative, as it did in the first Congress, and to New York, which then sent six, and now sends forty Representatives. Similar, though not as great, diversities exist in the comparative representa tion of several other States. Some have remained nearly stationary, and others have had a very rapid increase of population. The Constitution has, therefore, wisely provided, that there shall be a new enumeration of the inhabitants of all the States, every ten years, which is commonly called the decennial census.
§ 82. There is one question of great practical importance, as to the apportionment of Representatives, which has constantly been found to involve much embarrassment and difficulty; and that is, how and in what manner the apportionment is to be made. The language of the Con