Founding Fathers and Equal State Suffrage: Greatest Hits

Our greatest Founding Fathers opposed equal state suffrage. Here is a short summary of their most definitive and quotable statements. See the original posts for links, discussion, and evidence of the persistence of their views.

  • George Washington: Convention delegates who supported equal state suffrage were “narrow minded politicians.”
  • John Adams: Proportional representation is a “first Principle of Liberty.”
  • Thomas Jefferson: “A government is republican in proportion as every member composing it has his equal voice in the direction of its concerns.”
  • James Madison: Proportional representation is the “proper foundation of government.”
  • Alexander Hamilton: “The rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be proportioned to the number of free inhabitants.”
  • James Wilson: Proportional representation is an “inherent, indisputable, and unalienable right of men.”
  • Benjamin Franklin/Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776: “…representation in proportion to the number of taxable inhabitants is the only principle which can at all times secure liberty, and make the voice of a majority of the people the law of the land…”
  • The Virginia Plan (Madison/Washington/Mason/Randolph/Wythe/Blair/McClurg): “The rights of suffrage in the National Legislature ought to be proportioned to the Quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants.”